Jul 25th — Justin Jackson is the co-founder of Transistor.fm , a successful bootstrapped podcast hosting company. The journey building Transistor were documented on the Build Your SaaS podcast, which is a must listen. Justin is the founder of the MegaMaker community which he started in 2013, so if you're part of the maker sphere - you'll probably have heard of him. In this episode we cover: What is Transistor and why did they start it Why work in podcast hosting? Was it not already a solved problem? How did they get the first few customers? What's next for Transistor? What's it like having "made it" as an indie hacker? What challenges does Justin run into? Should you just get a job at a tech company or run your bootstrapped co? Why bootstrapping is not a level playing field When you should quit your job Addressing mental health as an entreprenuer Recommendations Book: Life Profitability Podcast: Software Social Indie Hacker: Derek Sivers Follow Justin Twitter Blog Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor Thank you to Dan Rowden for sponsoring this episode with his product, ilo which helps you easily see which kind of tweets get more impressions, likes, profile clicks and more so you can get grow your Twitter audience. Use the code "INDIEBITES27" for 25% off your plan for life. Sign up here.
Jul 22nd — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Many investors who buy a business trip up over simple operational details (e.g. forgetting to renew a domain name). Michael has seen this happen time and again. Action Steps: Generate your opportunity to break into the space: Start a podcast Host an event Connect with recruiters who can source talented business managers Buy an existing business with the audience you want to serve If you’ve connected with a recruiter you can understand their fee structure, add a profit margin and use this information to sell this service to your first Investor clients You can begin charging a commission as soon as your make your first connection, probably 5-10%, or you can just get a testimonial and case study from the deal Once your more established in the space your can start to build out your platform for connecting Business Investors and Talented Operators You might reduce your commission slightly once the business requires less manpower and runs more on automation One way to build your client base is to buy an existing business that has a similar audience. Links: https://www.domainmagnate.com/ https://domainmagnatecapital.com/ The Domain Magnate Show The White Coat Investor <em>Michael Bereslavsky is the Founder and CEO of Domain Magnate, a micro private equity firm that acquires and operates online businesses.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]
Jul 21st — Sam Parr (@theSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) have both sold their businesses and are currently hosting one of the best business podcasts out there. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to be in their position now and what kind of businesses they would start if they were doing it all over today. Listen to My First Million: https://thehustle.co/my-first-million-podcast/ Follow Sam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theSamParr Follow Shaan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaanVP
Jul 20th — Topics this week: Tyler had fun with a once-per-year football bet, and Rick had to put in a full day of dad duty. Tyler is considering taking the ShiftNudge design course to get better at design. He also purchased a license to Tailwind UI so he can copy from better designers. LACRM is tweaking it's policy that everyone at the company must do an hour or support each week. Rick reflects on the value he gets from both writing and reading personal newsletters. LACRM is tweaking it's policy around employee conversation, partially based on a conversation we had on this podcast a couple weeks ago. Tyler's Mixergy interview is live. Now that Rick has a sense of what is and isn't working at his business, he wants to simplify which will mean cutting some current complexity away.
Jul 20th — Michele Hansen 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit. Orbit is mission control for your community, grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit. Find out more at Orbit.love . Michele Hansen Hey, Colleen. Colleen Schnettler 0:15 Hey, Michele. Good morning. Michele Hansen 0:18 It's been a while. Colleen Schnettler 0:19 Oh, I know. I've missed your face. Michele Hansen 0:22 I've missed your face and your voice too. Colleen Schnettler 0:26 Yeah, I think we haven't recorded in almost a month now. Michele Hansen 0:29 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 0:31 Crazy. Michele Hansen 0:32 It's been it's an every year in California now. Colleen Schnettler 0:35 Yes. Michele Hansen 0:37 And I guess we should catch people up. So the other day we were emailing about what time we should be recording since there is now a nine hour time difference between us. And it occurred to me as we were sort of trying to figure out scheduling and whatnot. I had this sort of thought for a moment of You know what, we've done this for almost a year. That's a really solid run. Like apparently, like, I think most 90% of podcasts only make it to like, what, three episodes or something like that. Maybe, maybe we've maybe we're done. Maybe we did what we did what we set out to do, and maybe we should walk out on a high note. Colleen Schnettler 1:21 Yeah. Michele Hansen 1:23 And then I said that to Mateus. And he was like, No, you can't stop the podcast, it's your thing. Colleen Schnettler 1:29 By the way, thank you. saving the day. It's funny, you should mention that, Michelle, because a lot has changed in my life in the past month. And I had a similar thought, but not because of the time zones more because I'm like, sick of hearing my voice. I feel like I've been, I feel like I get on this podcast every week. And I just complain about how hard it is to start a business. And I'm not actually doing anything. Like, I feel like I've lost my bias to action. Like you aren't doing things, I guess I don't know, I just like colleagues, just do the thing. Stop talking about doing the thing and just do the thing. Michele Hansen 2:08 It's so interesting that you listen back to it and you hear that you're not doing anything. When I feel like if you were to you know, I like I imagine you listen to some audio books on your long road trip from Virginia to I did California rather than listening through our entire catalogue. Colleen Schnettler 2:30 That would have been funny, though. Michele Hansen 2:32 Yeah, I imagine you celebrate our entire catalog. But I feel like I hear you did not have a side project going last summer. Like you spent the late summer in fall. And I guess it wasn't really until the fall you like decided to go all in on this. And then by December, right, you had something launchable. And you got it out there. You got into the training wheels phase of the Heroku marketplace. And then you were finally led out into the world in February. And last we spoke you were at like right, right around 1000. Mr. That sounds like a lot to me. Colleen Schnettler 3:19 When you say it like that sounds really great. Go me. I just feel like for the past couple months. And to be fair, I have been single parenting three kids separated from my spouse, right in a pandemic. So it's been a little crazy. But for the past three months, I feel like I've just gotten on, and we've been recording, and I'm just like, Oh, I want to do this thing. And you'll say something brilliant. And I'm like, Yeah, I should totally do that. And then it takes me like, a month to do something. Michele Hansen 3:47 But I think so make sense, given all of that. And maybe we should clarify that you were away from your spouse not separated. Like, Oh, right. That utilitarians? Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 3:56 totally separate. Yeah. Michele Hansen 3:57 But like you I feel like you have gotten so much done. But also I think what you're saying of kind of, you know, when you're working on a product, especially in the early days, I feel like it's very normal to kind of look at everything that has to be done and be like, Oh, my God, there is so much to be done. This product sucks. Why is anyone paying for it? I have so much to do. Is this ever going to be like a real business Never mind something that I'm proud of? How am I possibly going to get all of the time to do all of these things and like beating yourself up for not having all of that time because you are a human being that not only needs to sleep and eat but has other other real life commitments like child rearing. Like I think what you're saying is totally normal. Colleen Schnettler 4:50 Okay. Like I've been doing a lot of whining, like, Oh, it's hard to do these things or just shut up and do the Michele Hansen 4:59 way like, you know, People ever do acquire us and then and then people like you, and then you can go start a business, another business and I'm like, Yeah, dude, that's hard. Like I have one that works. Like, I don't want to do that again. It is hard. Colleen Schnettler 5:13 Oh, it's good to hear you say that. I just feel like I'm moving slowly. I think that's a better way to put it. I feel like I'm moving at glacial speed here. And it's a little frustrating. Michele Hansen 5:23 Yeah, of course it is. Colleen Schnettler 5:25 So speaking of having calls with people who want to acquire you, someone reached out to me, a small company that acquire small sasses. And we had a call. Oh. So that was very flattering, I guess is the right word. Hmm. I mean, I know that happens to you all the time. But it does not happen to me all the time. And he did not find out. He did not find out about me from the podcast, or any of the heat, even though I had a podcast, which is always funny when someone is like, Oh, I didn't even know that. He's like, what made you want to start the business? I was like, Oh, well, if you have 52 hours, you can go listen to my podcast. I didn't say it like that I was much more professional. Michele Hansen 6:09 So you could put it on to x, and it would be half of that. But Colleen Schnettler 6:15 I was pretty cool. To have someone reached out about buying the business. And just to kind of start the dialogue. We had a very casual, we did not talk valuation. We didn't talk specifics, but we did have a very casual chat. So that was kind of cool, I guess. Michele Hansen 6:32 But you're you're, you didn't leave that like committing to sell it to them? Like, are you gonna go there call with them? Colleen Schnettler 6:39 Yeah, so the plan is, I mean, I'm not commit, I didn't commit to anything. Okay. I feel like I should say that. We kind of did the get to know the situation chat. And let's have another call if you're interested in a couple months deal. Michele Hansen 6:56 And a couple months. Okay. But it's not like right now. Colleen Schnettler 7:00 No, there it was. It was no pressure. Like we were just, we were just you know, he flattered me, of course, like you were saying he's like, Oh, you know, you started this thing. I'm sure you're gonna start a lot of things. And I thought of you when he said that. Michele Hansen 7:16 And you'd be like, No, actually, I am a one trick pony. Colleen Schnettler 7:21 Yeah, I think it was a good call. But yeah, I think well, it was kind of a Hey, let's talk again in a couple months if if you're interested. So Michele Hansen 7:30 I don't I mean, you know, investors are playing the long game, right? Like, Colleen Schnettler 7:33 yeah, Michele Hansen 7:34 I know. There's some investors who've been trying to court me for a while, you know, God, oh, for years, like, and I mean, so yeah, they'll wait a couple months. And have you ever isn't, there's a book about was it like, built? Built to Sell? Right, like, Colleen Schnettler 7:51 yeah, I listened to that in the car. I didn't listen to all of it, because it's very long, but I listened. I got started on it in the car. Michele Hansen 7:57 Yeah. Did you also listen to never split the difference? Colleen Schnettler 8:00 No, I listened to April Dunford book. Oh, about positioning. Obviously. Awesome. Michele Hansen 8:08 Yes. Yeah. The one. Was it? Awesome. Colleen Schnettler 8:11 Yeah. I mean, I think you know, her book is aimed at a wider range. It's not specifically focused on single person sasses. But I really think the thing I drew out of her book and Harvard's book, what I forget what it's called, that's embarrassing. But um, it's like building to sell or something was zero to sold, thank you zero to sold was the importance of niching down. And so my focus, what I took from both of those books was I need to niche down, I need to position myself properly. And to do that. I'm going to focus on the Heroku marketplace. Michele Hansen 8:45 Mm hmm. Colleen Schnettler 8:47 So yeah, I enjoyed both of it. Yeah. I enjoyed them both. Michele Hansen 8:50 It was good. Maybe I feel like we've probably unfairly built up some suspense at this point. So first of all, we are continuing with the podcast times. Oh, yeah. Colleen feelings about not getting enough. Done. aside. We are continuing. So if you have been sitting there worried that this is the last one, you're not. We are continuing. And Colleen, Colleen says has not been acquired yet. Right? Colleen Schnettler 9:15 did sell it? Do you get asked? Do we have any other news Michele Hansen 9:19 updates that we should bring people here? Colleen Schnettler 9:22 While I'm up ending everything in my life. I do have some other things to say. Oh, so the reason, obviously, during this podcast I love and I love talking to you every week, as we've discussed before, even if no one listened. But the other thing is when we started this podcast, when I was trying to get this ass off the ground and I just was hitting every roadblock imaginable. This podcast kept me accountable. So since I'm kind of feeling that, like, I'm not progressing, I'm going to start kind of using this podcast to keep me accountable again, like this week, I'm going to do this thing. So that's something I want to kind of be more actionable on what I'm trying to do to keep Moving this business forward. Oh, yeah. So, so I did other thing. So I took a full time job. Oh, that's right. That's a big, it's a big update, which is so counterintuitive for like, indie hackers, because usually hear people like their goal is to get out of their full time job and get into consulting. So they'll have more time to work on their side projects, I found for myself, that was different, because I was getting really high value clients, and they're wonderful, but they're intense. So what I was finding was the intensity of the mental energy and space I needed to fulfill my client's needs was not leaving me with a lot of extra brain space for simple file upload. So the job I took is actually a company I've worked for before as a contractor a couple years ago, and I negotiated Fridays off, so I have a full time job, but I only work four days a week. So I'm hoping I can use those Fridays, to work on simple file, upload and be able to kind of give that my full brain space on Fridays. Michele Hansen 11:18 That makes sense. That's nice that you got Friday's off. Colleen Schnettler 11:21 Yeah, it's weird being in a W two. I know everyone's not in the US. I shouldn't say w two. It's weird to be back in a full time job, though. Like It Is it? It's just weird. It feels so because I haven't done it in cash, like 10 years, no, eight years. So it feels weird. But I know that I know the team. I know the guys, I know the product. So it's not it's not like that starting a new job stress. It's more just like slotting myself in and, you know, adjusting to the way they work and things like that. But yeah, it's still kind of weird, because I haven't done it in a long time. Michele Hansen 11:57 Do you feel like you're gonna, like now have more of that, like mental space for those Fridays? Colleen Schnettler 12:05 I think so Michelle, and I think so because the work isn't the work at my full time job is interesting. But it's not super high intensity, if that makes sense. So I think it's going to be just the right level of work to kind of, you know, give me some spare cycles, like spare brain cycles to work on my own stuff. And I found that just I know, the dream of some people, like I told a few people, and they were like, Oh, my gosh, why would you do that? Because I know the dream for most people is to quit their full time job and go into a more of a consulting contract role. But for me, I found like I said that it was just the clients I were getting, I was getting, we're just real high intensity. So it wasn't like, Oh, I'm just gonna work 30 hours a week, like that wasn't, they weren't real on board with that. And so although you know, you make more money, as an independent developer, I think the pace of this job is going to align better with my life goals. Michele Hansen 13:07 And, you know, I found that when I was working full time, like, or, I mean, I work full time now. But like, when I was working for other people, I don't know how to, like, say that, like, you know, when you're working in another company, inevitably, you have a lane. And maybe if you're in a really small company, you have multiple lanes, but like, you don't have the whole pool in the same way that you would as a as an entrepreneur. And I found for that, like those first couple of years, the fact that I was constrained to only, you know, a couple of different areas in my full time job was like, frustrating, but I could channel it into geocode do because all of the other stuff that I basically wasn't allowed to do at work and like, I would have ideas about things and would be like, well, that's this entire other department. And it would be like, like, you can't do anything about that. Like, I could channel that into geocode do and, and it like almost becoming this way of professionally expressing myself. Yeah, well, to get to do things that I couldn't do at work. And like that was exciting and motivating in its own right of like being able to feel like I was bringing everything I possibly could to the table. Like I had an outlet for that. Colleen Schnettler 14:28 Yep, that's exactly how I hope this falls out. Michele Hansen 14:32 We'll see it took the pressure off of the business to to be that like full time income. Colleen Schnettler 14:37 Yeah, and that's kind of nice, too. I think. Like I said, you know, you do make more as when you're independent, but the constant context switching, you know, a new client every six months to a year. It's kind of exhausting. Yeah. So yeah, so lots going on here. So hopefully, I have now arranged my life in a way that I will have some energy back to work on simple file upload, your, I Michele Hansen 15:09 think we've talked in the past about how people, like, I think I saw somebody made some graphic ones of like, this sort of hierarchy of, of work or products or whatever, you know, that starts at, like, the very bottom is, you know, working for another company as if, like, you know, having a tech job is like this terrible bottom of the barrel. And then and then you go become a consultant, and then you have an info product, and then you have a SaaS product, and then you have, I don't know, like, something with cryptokey, like, whatever they feel like is the is the, you know, this sort of golden shining, like, point at the top of this of this hierarchy. And I reject that, you know, you know, like, I have gone from SAS like to infoproducts now, but I think there is like a value judgment that happens for people who go from having their own indie products back to full time, or who skipped steps to like, right, like, we never did the info product, quote, unquote, phase like, it's fake, like, that's not actually a process that people have to follow. And if your life necessitates that, like right now, having a like a part time, SAS, and a full time job is like where you want to be, and that consulting isn't fitting in that, and you're going to just zigzag on down and go your own path. That's totally fine. Like, you don't have to follow the same path that you know, someone on Twitter follows, like, make your own path. It's okay, if you need to, you know, hop around a bit and make it work. Colleen Schnettler 16:56 Yeah, I totally agree. And it's interesting you say that, because I definitely struggled with some of those decisions. Like Wait, I'm not supposed to go back to full time work After establishing myself as an independent developer. And then I was like, Oh, wait, I can do whatever I want. Michele Hansen 17:12 Sweet. Yeah, you're an adult, you can do what you want, you can make the decisions that are the right for you. And it's, there's, yeah, there's like this, it's almost like people should be ashamed of having to go get a full time job as if it's sort of like admitting defeat. When, and I just, I just reject that. Like, I don't think that's true. Like you're making the best decision for you, you have, you know, it's It's for your own mental health, for your professional health, for that of your family, who you're providing for, like, all of those things are important considerations. And it doesn't matter what people on Twitter think, like, yeah, Colleen Schnettler 17:56 that I feel like I'm in a really good spot now. So I'm, I'm now geographically co located with my spouse, which sounds ridiculous, but that just means we're together again. Yeah, you know, so I got my husband back. I got my co parent back. I live in sunny San Diego, and I took this job. So it's a lot of change. Feeling like, so good. Michelle, and I'm so feeling like, like, I'm ready to kick some ass. Can I just say, I think you are. Yeah, so I'm super pumped about that. It's almost you know, and the other thing about this whole experience, success begets success, right? Like, it's like, as I've been building and public, and as I've been getting traction, things start to compound, like, I get this guy reaching out, and he wants to buy my SAS, like, I get random people on the internet sending me like really nice. Twitter DMS, just like that are like encouraging and telling me what a great man. I love that. Like, thanks, man. That's so nice. So I feel like this whole process compounds, but I think being visible, you know, I was talking to some people before I went on this call, because I didn't with the investor because I didn't know what to expect. And one person was like, Well, you know, you know, maybe you shouldn't tell him this. Or maybe you shouldn't tell him that. And I was like, I have a podcast, like everything about this company is like, public knowledge. And I know there's risks inherent in that, right. But I really think the benefit I have seen, especially as a social person has greatly greatly outshined the risks associated with that. Michele Hansen 19:40 I mean, I would say the same for writing the book too, like it never would have gotten to be a book had I not done the newsletter and been getting feedback and encouragement and comments and stories from people in that very early stage and even just now like literally just before we were recording, I was on a call with someone Whose company is in earnest capital, and they're starting to do their first customer interviews and they wanted some feedback on the scripts that they had made based on the ones and deploy empathy my book. And it was so like, it was so exciting talking to them about it. And and yeah. And then we ended up having this really great conversation about using customer interviews as a way to basically like fuel content generation, and SEO, which is basically is our marketing tactic. But yeah, I think being open about about it can be really, really inspiring in a way that like we, like, you know, we got feedback from people when we launched your codea. But they were like developer friends of ours. Like it wasn't, like, during that whole developing phase, like we actually really didn't we didn't kind of have this like community element, but I think I mean, I feel like we both definitely have now but for very different different reasons. Colleen Schnettler 21:06 Yeah. Speaking of the book, yeah, it's July How's it going? Um, Michele Hansen 21:16 um, so, so I finalized the copy like, two weeks ago, which was was just really good moment. Like I actually like I genuinely have not touched the copy in about two weeks. And but had some like really good progress on it, like I ended up sort of at the last minute getting to interview a product manager at stripe, about their customer research process. And so I like to include a ton of examples in the book from stripe, which was pretty awesome because their their process or how you might see it in a team because different teams might run it differently. was so validating because like they, they also very much take this sort of customer first perspective and have from the very beginning like the calls and brothers were doing support in the very beginning. And that's just continued throughout the company, and I think really explains why they're such a fantastic company to work with. But so I was able to include a ton of different examples from stripe in the book, but then I had to get it approved by stripe coms before it was published. Interesting. Yes, like that took some time. I mean, it's totally worth it. Like that took some time. And then I basically took a week off. And then now I've just kind of been working on the cover getting some reviews. Um, and then but I think the cover is basically done at this point. And now I just need to like upload the whole thing to Amazon and get a proof copy. And then after we do the proof copy, then we'll open it up. Wow, that's an aside, I think I don't think we talked about this, I did decide to do a private podcast as a presale for the audio book. Colleen Schnettler 23:14 No, we didn't talk about this. Um, Michele Hansen 23:16 yeah, I'm kind of I'm kind of excited about that. Um, I love podcasting, As you have noticed. Um, and again like the the idea of sitting down to record an entire audio book feels like slightly overwhelming but doing it as a podcast where I release a couple of chapters per week and there's a small group of people who are following along and you know, can give feedback or encouragement or whatnot is kind of exciting to me it is summer so that sort of makes it hard to get that like truly quiet time to record. And I don't have like I want to have a booth eventually. But and when we were eventually able to build a headquarters but we don't have shed said headquarters at the moment so apparently I can surround my desk and pillows. I was gonna try that out for a future episode and is everybody Colleen Schnettler 24:13 knows acoustic wall things too. Michele Hansen 24:15 Yeah, there are there's also like some like cage thing you can get for a microphone to help with it. But because mine is on a boom and not like mounted on the desk. It doesn't work as well, apparently. So I might do the pillow for it approach really like NPR reporters will do if they're in a hotel room. And yeah, but yeah, so I'm going to do a private podcast and I decided to give everyone who has done the presale By the way, like so far access to that private podcast as well. Okay, so yeah, so So everyone who has done the presale of the the PDF, ebook copy of the book, they get that and then all of the notion and Google Drive templates and then also the private podcast which you know, well costing more if you buy it after the pre sale closes, so I guess we help people when that ends. Colleen Schnettler 25:06 Yeah. Can you explain that I didn't follow. I didn't follow the pricing structure for that. So if you buy the book now on pre sale, yeah, you will get access to the private podcast. Michele Hansen 25:16 Well, so you I mean, you get the PDF of the book, or or, you know, there's other ebook versions. There's also actually an online version, too. It's not really written for that. But there Yeah, there's an online version as well. And then there's, there's Google Drive and notion templates, basically, to make it easy to like, copy the script and then, and then make your own version of it based on that. And then also give them access to the private podcast. That will be basically the presale of the audio book. So eventually, that will all all of those podcasts will get wrapped up into an audio book. Colleen Schnettler 25:57 Got it. Cool. Michele Hansen 25:59 Yeah, I think I guess I might do like a separate presale for that once this main presale ends. Like I feel like such an imposter using all these words, because like we don't do any of this was a little bit like, yeah, this Colleen Schnettler 26:15 isn't really my wheelhouse. Michele Hansen 26:16 But I yeah, I Oh, yeah, I Colleen Schnettler 26:18 buy. I often buy physical books and audio books. So I you know, I would buy things like April dumpers book, I have a physical copy. And I have the audio book. I do that a lot with a lot of books. And Michele Hansen 26:32 so what is the physical book do for you? Well, like how would you use them differently? Colleen Schnettler 26:37 I'm on Team physical book. Like, I always I hate I mean, I don't want to use hate. That's a strong word. I don't like books, I have to read on a tablet or on the computer. I want physical books. But I switched between them, which is a little weird. But like with with obviously awesome. I bought I bought the book, I started the book. And then I had the road trip. So I was like, Oh, well, I'll just listen to the rest of the book. And then I have both and it makes me happy. So you can like reference the physical book, write that for me, especially for business books for me. I've done the reverse to especially for your book, like I would probably be someone who would listen to your book, and then buy it. Because I like physical books for reference. But I like podcasts and audiobooks for what I'm trying to do other things. Michele Hansen 27:27 Sort of building the like general base of the knowledge and then once you know that, there's like something specific that was interesting, then you can go find it in the book. Colleen Schnettler 27:37 Exactly, exactly. So yeah, I do that frequently. I don't Michele Hansen 27:41 listen to audiobooks myself, because I find that I don't retain information as well. And I only read books on Kindle, if it's a book that I would never want to reference. So it's been like, it's been really interesting for me. Actually, when I when I interviewed the 30 odd early readers, this was one of the questions I asked them was like, so how does it like what did those two different things do for you, like walk me through the context when we when you would use them? Colleen Schnettler 28:12 Yeah. And of course you did. Good for you. So meta. Michele Hansen 28:19 Always. Colleen Schnettler 28:20 I did. I did try to use your customer interview techniques on the guy who was inquiring about my company? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was just trying to kind of understand where he was coming from. So I think I did relatively well, Michele Hansen 28:33 Chris Voss and never split the difference talks about using empathy as a negotiation tactic. Like I referenced his book a ton in my book, because, you know, fundamentally, you want to understand where someone is coming from and why. So you understand, like, what, like, what they're trying to do. Yeah. And especially with an investor calls, like, you know, sometimes it could be someone who genuinely wants to invest in you, but like, you never know, if they're doing, you know, their own research for a company that they've already invested in, or they're doing right due diligence on a company they might invest in, and they're trying to talk to all the competitors, and get some sort of inside information. And so I mean, as you said, you, you didn't say anything that you hadn't already said in the podcast, which I think is really smart. And to get it, it's Oh, it's just smart to get them talking as much as possible and say, as little yourself as you can, even if this, you know, could end up being a hugely beneficial thing. And they could, you know, you could be totally aligned on interests like, but my I mean, my first step in any sort of negotiation, which this would be or is at this point, is to get them to talk as much as possible. Colleen Schnettler 29:48 Yeah, okay. Can we play one game before we get off this podcast? Sure. Let's say I want to sell my company someday for $3 million because Okay, I want to house in California. Okay, ridiculous. What? And I know, there's like a million things that go into valuation. But spitball? What kind of revenue? Do you need to even be in that ballpark? Michele Hansen 30:15 So it really depends, right? Like, I think the general multiples I've seen, which, you know, I like I'm not an expert in this at all. So I think I run into times revenue. There's probably somebody listening out there who actually like knows these numbers better than I do. But I think one and a half, two times revenue is pretty annual, maybe maybe up to an annual revenue of two times maybe for a small SAS like this. I did not plan to talk about that today. So I probably would have looked at those numbers first. But, um, but I think that's about the range. And no more than 5x, probably, annual revenue, and it really matters whether this is a like, is this a person who is acquiring the company to run it themselves? Is it a company that has a portfolio of small classes that they're running together? Or is it a strategic acquire, ie someone who is consolidating their market share, a strategic acquire will pay much more than the other two types of buyers? God? Colleen Schnettler 31:27 Okay, we'll talk in a couple years. My revenues ever $1.5 million, then you can advise me on that. Michele Hansen 31:38 Actually, you should just really hire somebody who advises people, right? If I can help you with negotiation strategies, but like, you know, SAS, you know, m&a is not my whole area of expertise. hire somebody who knows what they're doing. Colleen Schnettler 31:55 All right. I'll check back in five years. We'll see. See him there. Michele Hansen 32:00 Oh, it's been good chatting with you again. Colleen Schnettler 32:02 Oh, so good to be back. Michele Hansen 32:04 I missed this. I did, too. Alrighty. Well, I'll talk to you next week. All right. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Jul 16th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: The next wave in creative domains is often defined by those who master the tech that disrupt what’s already being done Action Steps: Start by offering AI services that assist writers in tweaking their content (e.g. “overcome writer’s block!”) Then offer a contract to some of the best writers for a publishing contract Optimize not only the writing but also the marketing using AI resources Eventually transition to offering some content that is entirely AI generated. Links: www.kennygould.com https://www.instagram.com/hopcultureken The Brewing Cloud: A Book of Short Stories https://www.hopculture.com/ https://openai.com/ Opinion | Did a Human or a Computer Write This? https://booksby.ai/ https://nextglass.co/ <em>Kenny Gould is currently the Creative Director at Next Glass the company that bought his beer-loving culture brand, Hop Culture. He’s currently working on the Untappd Beer Festival at the Padres stadium in San Diego, which will be happening in October 2021.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]
Jul 14th — Kyle Gawley (@kylegawley) was running a high-growth, venture-backed company when he ended up in the hospital partially due to all the pressure he was under. That experience led to some introspection, which I'll ask him about in this episode. We'll also talk about his new company, which he decided to build with a completely different approach to growth. Follow Kyle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kylegawley Save three months by trying Gravity's SaaS boilerplates: https://usegravity.app/
Jul 13th — Topics this week: Rick launched LegUpBenefits.com . We discuss Rick's new no-code tool: Outseta. Less Annoying CRM has a new developer starting next month. Tyler has refined his approach to writing internal documentation, and Rick makes a fantastic analogy. Tyler's co-founder/brother will be in town next week. Rick wants to keep practicing coding so his skills don't deteriorate. Rick is taking a break from podcasts. Tyler wants Rick's help to teach the coding fellows about no-code use cases. We discuss Rick's notes on Anything You Want which leads to a conversation about whether startup utopias are real.
Jul 13th — Follow Derrick on Twitter: https://twitter.com/derrickreimer Check out SavvyCal (which Michele uses and loves, btw): https://savvycal.com/ Colleen Schnettler 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit. Orbit is mission control for your community. Grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit. Find out more at orbit.love . Hello everyone and welcome back to the Software Social Podcast. I'm your host today Colleen Schnettler. Today I'm very excited to host a special guest, Derrick Reimer. Derrick is a serial maker and has successfully built many products. He's now building SavvyCal. Hey, Derrick, thanks so much for being here. I'm really happy to have you on today. Derrick Reimer 0:34 Thanks for having me. Yeah, I've been a fan of your guys's podcast since it came out and have enjoyed following along with your respective journeys, and especially as you've been getting simple file upload off the ground. It's pretty exciting stuff. Colleen Schnettler 0:47 So in a little bit of a change of the traditional podcast guest format, I actually invited you here because I want to talk about me instead of your product. You know, I would really like to talk to you because you are a technical founder. And I feel like you've done this five times now. Derrick Reimer 1:12 Something like that. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 1:13 something like that. Quite a few companies. So I just kind of wanted to get your opinion on, like my product and my growth trajectory. And if this thing is gonna work, and I have so many questions like when to bail, right? Yeah. Derrick Reimer 1:30 Yeah, no, it's, it's good. I'm happy to dive into this stuff. I love kind of strategizing. And, and, you know, talking shop with with other folks. So yeah, happy to have to dive in on some of those questions. Colleen Schnettler 1:41 Awesome. So one of the things when I started simple file upload is I kind of made a lot of the mistakes, I think traditional or first time founders make in that I just built something I wanted to build. And I just wanted to ship a product, right? Like my first goal was literally make something that people could buy. And so that was like a really exciting time just learning how to create a piece of software I could sell to more than one person. Derrick Reimer 2:08 Hmm, I think I remember when you were kind of just getting started on this and kind of talking about it. And, you know, Michelle would grill you a little bit on like, well, you talk to customers. But if I recall, like you do have, like some this intuition for the need for this came out of your own experience a bit, right, which is like, yes, that can be a dangerous place to start. But it's also I feel like one of the more like, it kind of sets you off on a good foot. In one sense, if you have a really good understanding of kind of the the problem like you've felt the problem deeply yourself. And so I feel like you were starting, maybe you didn't do all the customer interviews right out of the gate, but like you sort of had this intuitive sense, like as a as a consultant, and you've built this stuff many times before that, like, Oh, this is kind of I'm spending repeated effort on this problem. And I'm seeing other people doing that, too. Is that is that kind of characterize? Like, how the genesis of it came about? Colleen Schnettler 3:07 Yes, definitely. Yeah. That's Yeah, that's really why I built it. And there's a lot of excitement in the beginning, right, just like getting your first product to market. And I think I made a really good choice to put it in the Heroku marketplace. And it seems to be meeting a need, I think I kind of Accidentally on Purpose found a hole, right? Because Heroku has the ephemeral file storage. So this is a problem. Literally, everyone who uses her Roku has, right. I don't really know, though. I mean, it's just fancy file storage. I don't really know, if it's a product that can even replace my job. Like, I don't know, if the How do I like even determine if it can get there? Derrick Reimer 3:56 Mm hmm. Well, I think so part of that is, so you're kind of speaking to like market size, like how many, you know, how many dollars are flowing through this industry of people wanting to to solve this problem. And I did, I did a little bit of like, just scoping around before coming on here because I wanted to do do a little bit of my homework and it seems like there are quite a few, like, companies that there are kind of big name players like cloud Neri right that have sort of been around a while people use them for image storage like image manipulation or like optimization, right. But also like in looking at kind of their their marketing it seems like they're they've gone a little bit up market like they're they seem a little enterprise II to me from the looks of them, you know, like it's, I look at it as an as an independent software builder and I don't know if I'm perfectly in the target market for your product, but like when I look at Cloud Neri To me, it's like this looks a little long in the tooth like they like it's not something I would want to jump into putting into my stack because it looks a little bit too Little bit to enterprise. And like, like, I would want a fresher take on that. But it seems like it seems like there is there's a pretty decent sized market for, you know, file storage, image storage, image manipulation, CDN, like putting things on CD ends, and like making that whole side of things smoother. So I guess like my initial take is like, I think there is something here. Now the question is, which we can kind of talk through more like, is there? Is it something you're interested in? Like, really going after, you know, and like, and? Yeah, but I think there's, I think there is something there. Colleen Schnettler 5:40 So what do you mean? Is it something I'm interested in really going after? Derrick Reimer 5:45 I guess, like, it's gonna take, I think you're at that point right now where like, you've got some initial traction, you're in the Heroku marketplace. And actually, it's, it's really cool. I looked, I just searched upload in the marketplace. And you're like, ranked number one or number two, which is pretty amazing. Right? Yeah, that's a really good. That's a really good spot to be in. I was I was shocked that there was not more options there. Right? Yeah. Yeah, me too. And honestly, this is, this is a problem that I have, every time I build this app, I kind of go through this, this phase of like, relying on gravatar, only for avatars, because I don't want to build in the upload part. And then it's annoying. Yeah. And then like, gradually, I've gotten, I've actually pushed more and more towards just being on Heroku. And, like, I used to, like drip was on AWS and we just had like custom instances. So we already had s3 there. And it was sort of part of our tool chain already. But this time around, like I don't, I've been trying to stick to like a pure Heroku stack, keep things really simple. And it was definitely an awkward place when I needed to add this, like the ability for people to upload their own Avatar and like, Okay, so now I have to go like create an AWS account, like I ideally didn't want to do that. So I don't know. Yeah. all that to say like, it seems like there's a there's an interesting gap here. Now, it remains to be seen if there's a ton of people, you know, like me and like you who, who are like not wanting practically like not wanting to spin up a raw AWS account and start, like getting in there and manipulating buckets and doing all that kind of stuff. But I don't know, I think my intuitive sense is like, I think that there's, you know, and I mean, they're the risk is that, like, Heroku just steps in and solve this problem at some point. But I mean, they haven't been around a long time, and they still haven't done that. So I think, I think there's a, I think there's an opportunity. But I guess back to the original question, like what do I mean by Do you want to, like, really go deeper on this, I think it's like, it's gonna, it's gonna probably take figuring out some, like, we're experimenting with some, some repeatable, like, marketing channels and traction channels. And it's gonna require a bit of investment, and experimentation, and, and so it's gonna take time, potentially money, you can pull those different levers, you know, depending on, on which one you have more of, to play with, you know, but I think that's, that's kind of the point that a lot of a lot of like, first time founders, technical founders get to where it's like, you're really good at the, you know, building the the product. And so now it's like, applying energy towards the marketing side, and really trying to like, suss out what's going to work on that end. Because I think your product is is probably well poised to, to solve a real need. And it already is solving a need for 10s of customers. Hundreds of customers. 33. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 8:47 Yeah, you know, and the thing about trying to learn marketing as a developer, it's like, I feel like I'm just throwing darts at a board. Like, maybe this'll work. Maybe this will work. I have no idea what I'm doing, which I guess is part of the process. Derrick Reimer 9:06 Right. Right. Right. I mean, that is, yeah, that is kind of what marketing is about. It's, it's a there's lots of channels. So I don't know if you're familiar with attraction, but I always bring this one up to founders. Have you have you? Okay, Colleen Schnettler 9:20 it's a client traction. Derrick Reimer 9:22 It's called traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Maris. It's been around a while, I think they've maybe revised it once or twice, but I have like a have an older copy sitting here. But it's basically like, Colleen Schnettler 9:32 it's literally on your desk. Yeah. Derrick Reimer 9:37 And because I this is one that I will just periodically revisit. And so because they start out with like, sort of running through this framework, they call it the bullseye framework. And it's sort of like it's just a little, a little exercise you can go through to sort of brainstorm each traction channel. They listen here and there's 19 different channels morality. PR and conventional PR search engine ads, social and display ads, SEO, content marketing. I won't list them all. But like, so they sort of start out the book with like, here's a brief description of each one, here's a framework for going through and brainstorming, you know, which ones do I think might work well for my product, and then, and then the rest of the book is sort of like going deeper on each one and how to think about like devising an experiment. So because like, I think I've done a little bit of, I just did a little bit of brainstorming ahead of this recording. And, you know, one idea I had was like, I feel like, there isn't like an SEO opportunity here. If people are, if people are really like me, and like you trying to like not go full in on like a manual setup with an s3 bucket for doing this. There might be some, there might be some some keywords that people are searching for typically, like, file uploads on Heroku, or something like that. And, you know, there's tooling you can use, like a traps or SEO, Moz, and a couple other ones that can give you some data on keywords like that. And so you can sort of, you know, you can, you can just do some research, some brainstorming, maybe make a spreadsheet, and then, and then kind of follow some of the advice in a book like this to kind of devise like, what's the minimal experiment, I could do produce maybe a couple pieces of content? And then see how see how that works? Without just saying like, yep, this is definitely what's going to work because you don't really know what's going to work until you actually experiment with it. Right? Colleen Schnettler 11:40 So I think I have a psychological block here. And I think my psychological block is I feel, I feel like it's my product is maybe not that great, because there's so much it doesn't do I mean, it does what it says it does, and it doesn't really well, right. But like, I don't know, if that's just like the developer in me, or like, no one has asked for these features. But like, there are certain features that it doesn't have, and it kind of like, makes me more a little bit uncomfortable almost trying to market it. When I can't offer those features. Is that weird? Derrick Reimer 12:19 That's a very common, I mean, that I've experienced that with every single product. I've had it talking to other founders. Yes. I mean, I think there's, I think the type of person who is likely to go on this journey, I think it's sort of a self selecting thing a little bit like there's, I think we tend to have this propensity to be be a little bit of a perfectionist about the products we make. And, and have a little bit of imposter syndrome to use the buzz word, you know, like feeling like, it's not, it's not as good as, as maybe we're making out to be I know, I've fallen in this trap. Many times of like, under marketing, or under selling what I've built. And when I've looked at other companies that are maybe founded by, like a non technical, like more sales type of person or something, they tend to, they tend to bias towards the opposite side, which is like, as soon as there's a little kernel of something built, it's like, let's sell, sell, sell. Yeah, and that's, that's not good, either. Like you want the product to truly match what you're selling. But I think I I'm hearing from you the same bias that I have, which is like, a natural tendency to, to undersell what you have, ultimately, like, it doesn't. Like, if it's solving a problem for people, then it is enough. It is enough, you know, and and so you have to be willing to, to push it and to market it. And believe me, if it's not, if it's not good enough for certain cases, you'll hear about it. Customers are very, very willing to to tell you when they think your stuff is not good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 14:04 Yeah. I think that has been like part of my problem is I'm just like, oh, but I should just and I know everyone does this, but it's still it's hard when it's your thing. Like, there's some personal I don't know, you know, wrapped up in that where you're like, oh, it doesn't do this thing. I literally was on a call with a guy the other day, and he was asking me about it. potential customer and like, I lead with that Derek. I was like, oh, but it doesn't resize. Oh, you can't sign it on the server. Like why did I do that? Derrick Reimer 14:33 Right? Yeah, I'm not funny. That's why I mean, I've found Same thing with with customer support. I don't know if you've experienced this at all. When people will write in, they'll ask, they'll ask about something that maybe we don't support right away. But there's like a, there's sort of a workaround, that's in my mind. It's like not in my engineering mind. It's like this is not a pure good solution. It's it's a hack. Right? Like Like you train a support person, because a lot of times I have struggled to like to be the one to tell, tell the person how to do the hack. Instead, I'm like, Nah, sorry, we can't support that. But we're working on it. And I remember this when we first unleashed like, we fully trained our, our support rep, or support rapid trip, and there were all kinds of things that people just needed to do workarounds for and he would just tell people like, yes, we can totally support this. Here's how you do it. And you know, it was a paragraph worth of like, you know, what I would consider to be a little bit of a hack, but really, it was just creative problem solving. And the customer was like, nine times out of 10. super thrilled. And they're like, yeah, thanks so much. This is awesome. So yeah, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 15:40 Okay. Okay. Yeah, I can see that. I am. Okay. So the product has been live for five months. And I'm at like, 1300 MRR, which it's hard to know where that falls in the world of good, bad, mediocre. It's growing, but it's growing slowly. And I just kind of feel like I don't know what to do next. Derrick Reimer 16:05 Sort of, it's growing right now off of primarily the Heroku marketplace. Is that right? Correct. Colleen Schnettler 16:11 Yeah, okay. Yeah. Okay. Derrick Reimer 16:14 Yeah. So, I mean, I don't know how much more it seems like you're like I had one one checklist on my on my bulleted list here about like to ask you about doing like kind of SEO specifically for the Heroku marketplace. Because this is this is sort of a thing like folks who have WordPress plugins, there are things you can do to to specifically, like optimize your, your plugin listing to increase the chances that someone will find you first. But then I like I searched upload and you came right up. So I think you're I feel like you're your SEO on this, like specific niche search engine, the Roku marketplace is actually really, really good. So I'm not sure yeah, I mean, it's it's it's someone else's platform. I don't off the top of my head, I don't know how much more you could really do. On that, besides potentially, like, you know, working on on messaging bear a little bit. Which is potentially something you could do I, I was curious. Just to hearing your words, like what do you feel like the primary pain point that you're solving for people is right now. And it was like, is it informed by your, your perception, from what you've heard from customers? A combination of both? Have you been surprised that other people have a different pain point than what you expected? I guess, kind of talk me through that a little bit. Colleen Schnettler 17:34 One of the interesting things here is, so to get on the Heroku marketplace, you have to make your app free, and you have to get 100 users. And so when I did that the people who were free would talk to me like they they had all kinds of stuff to say, now that I'm selling it. First of all, I can't get anyone to talk to me, which is super weird. But but so people who were talking to me more, it seems like it met that need of the storage, because if you have to set up a I mean, you know AWS Iam course, like so much involved because it's a direct upload, there's so much involved in setting up direct uploads in an application, so the people, I think it's doing what I intended it intended for to do, which is it extrapolates away, file, uploading to the cloud, and I am even backing it up, which I probably don't even need to do but but I like doing it makes me feel makes me sleep helps me sleep better. So I I'm actually saving your stuff on to two completely different storage providers. And that's such a problem on Heroku. Because of their file system, I don't think it's as big of a problem outside of Heroku. But one thing I did is I made it expensive. And I made it expensive because I figured like I looked at cloudberries pricing and I went like 75% below that. And so one thing I have thought of is to do like a cheaper model, because then people who just need avatars like you're not going to pay 35 bucks a month just for avatar storage, but maybe you'd pay 12 Derrick Reimer 19:20 I don't know. Yeah, I think it is pretty interesting. I mean, I think I would probably pay 30 What is it? What is your base price? 3535 35 Yeah, I would probably I don't know if that's too much, honestly. Especially Colleen Schnettler 19:42 successful people always tell me that they're like, it's not too much. Yeah, it's like a lot. Derrick Reimer 19:47 I mean, so potentially there's a it is interesting to think about kind of the the on ramp that people will have to to like kind of getting started Using your product, because I think like, for me, I'm running a SaaS application, I'm very, I'm very willing to just throw down $35 towards something that's a critical piece of, of hosting infrastructure. Like that's not a, that's not a big deal. But if I were, maybe if I were really early on and still, like vetting whether my product was actually going to work at all, I might be more hesitant. And this is something interesting, it's an interesting quality of your product in that, like, this decision is usually made decently far up front in the cycle of a product, right? Like, if someone's building something and, and at least uploading an avatar or some kind of some file of some kind from the user is like a key part of their application flow, then they have to make this decision pretty early on in the development cycle. And like now that, for example, now that I have my kind of avatar uploading thing sort of working, I say, sort of because I'm, I'm not doing because I'm technically channeling the bits through my Heroku instance, which is not ideal, like, if, if like someone, you know, if it's a big file, and it takes too long times out, it's like not, it's not very Colleen Schnettler 21:14 bullish. It's my judgment phase. steric, I'm just, ya Derrick Reimer 21:17 know, as you should. I, to me, this was like a, this was like, a quick and dirty, like, there's plenty of server side libraries that are built to to handle this. And so it was really easy, it was quick and easy. But I also know, like, it's not, you know, as soon as I let people upload, you know, bigger files, like a, like a big banner image, for instance, like, this is probably not going to work. And I'll have to revisit, like, making this even better, and perhaps pull your tool off the shelf. But I think, you know, if people, if people don't do what I did, and they do it the right way, from the get go the right way, meaning like something that will scale, then they're probably more likely to just to not, not pull that out and switch, like once, or twice a step. Colleen Schnettler 21:58 right about that. Yeah. Derrick Reimer 21:59 So the, the question becomes, like, how can you catch people earlier in the process, like, at the point where they're, their project is still nascent? I see, you have like, a seven day free trial. And I wonder if, I mean, just, here's, here's one idea, you know, is potentially, like, retooling this to be like a limited usage based trial instead, or like a, you know, free for development and you like, automap, you automatically delete the files after, you know, 36 hours or something like that. So that's a Colleen Schnettler 22:31 really good idea. Yeah, yeah. Derrick Reimer 22:34 I love that. It's like a sandbox environment where you can just, you're just paying for bandwidth, essentially, which is pretty cheap. And if it becomes a problem, Colleen Schnettler 22:42 you can always be a problem. Yeah, that's a great idea. Because then people, so the problem well, yeah, I'm gonna think about that. I like that idea. Like a sandbox mode omos, where everything, like you said, it's deleted every day or something. But then people could try it out and see if it was a good fit. Derrick Reimer 23:00 Yep. Yep. And then, and then potentially some kind. I mean, yeah. So the, you could have a cheaper tear. I'm still skeptical about this, because it's like, people just need to, I just believe people need to pay for critical pieces of their infrastructure. Like that shouldn't be a problem. But again, like since we sort of have to, you don't want that to become a something that prevents people from adopting your, your tool either. So so maybe it makes sense. I don't know if you've gotten any feedback from from customers so far, when you kind of were making that jump from like, the free to the requiring people to pay phase, but like, did you sense a lot of price sensitivity from people directly? Or is it more like in your own kind of? Colleen Schnettler 23:47 It's in my head? Yeah. I mean, I feel I have a couple people pay me $250 a month? Yeah. Yeah. Like that, like blew my mind. I wasn't even gonna make that tier because I was like, who's gonna pay that people are paying that? Derrick Reimer 23:59 So what what kind of customer is paying? What's their use case? Who's paying that on that tier? Are they individual product owners? Are they like a consultant? Who's doing a lot of projects? Or what is the the nature of their work look like? Colleen Schnettler 24:12 So I don't really know. Okay, that would be helpful information. Yeah, so I've got to get? Yeah, I don't really know. I'm still trying to set up some customer interviews with those folks to find out what their use cases. Derrick Reimer 24:28 Mm hmm. Even like, yeah, is it? Is it tough to see from there? I mean, if you just kind of look in your database, like, how many do they have a bunch of instance, a bunch of separate instances connected? Or like, do you have any kind of or is it just or literally on your end? Is it just like you're seeing buckets with files flowing into it? And it's kind of hard to tell what they're actually Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 24:48 I just have it set up. So what I can see is I can see the buckets with their files, okay, net, okay, which I actually haven't really even looked at, but that might, that might provide interesting information if I did that, yeah, at least. Yeah. Cuz. And so yeah, another question I sort of had is like is I think you've maybe talked about on here a little bit, but remind me like, are you? Are you primarily trying to market this towards, like consultants who are constantly starting new applications for clients? As opposed to like, individual operators? Yeah, that's it. So that's kind of part of part of where I am right now, too, right? Like, I'm trying to figure out who my ideal customer is. I thought it was people like me. And I have a couple consultants that I know that are using it. And it's cool, because they've signed up their clients, you know, on individual instances. So it's like, one person has given me several, you know, several accounts, right. But I don't like I thought that they would be my people, but I only have a couple of them. So there's a lot of people who are less experienced developers using it. And they're just trying to build something. It's not like no code, but like, kind of in a low code, but still using Heroku space. They're kind of trying to like, put pieces together to sell a product. So like, I've got like real estate companies and nail salons and people like that. And I actually have more of those people than I have consultants. So it seems like because it's setting up AWS is technically challenging. My supposition at this point is that I'm going for people who are who have a store or building a product, who don't want to spend the time or don't know how and don't care to spend, you know, three days learning how to use or setup AWS. Derrick Reimer 26:54 Mm hmm. That makes me think that like, I mean, no code is kind of a large, growing trend right now. Right? We're hearing this all the time. platforms like web flow. I don't know if webflow. I don't know much about them at all, unfortunately. But I know that they're super popular. And lots of people are using them to build things and sort of stitching together services. I don't know if that's, yeah, I wonder if your products, I feel like your product is in a is in a good spot for like, technical people who just want to who don't want to own the, the code that is responsible for doing the all the uploading and storage part, which I feel like that is a little bit different than people who are like, I literally don't write any code. Yeah, it's a different audience. You know, Colleen Schnettler 27:44 you're right. It is a different audience. And my people are developers, I've seen like, none of the people I have talked to don't write any code, like none of them are. Pure novotest. Yeah. Yeah, they have to have some kind of code knowledge. Right. Derrick Reimer 28:01 And so yeah, probably for that reason, I would probably put like, I would, I would maybe put a pin in the like, the no code piece. I think it would be hard to, to like market to both audiences at the same time, like, feels like a split focus a little bit. Colleen Schnettler 28:16 Yeah, no, you're right. And I have a job and a family. So like, I don't have, you know, stuff, right, I get stuff going on? Derrick Reimer 28:23 How much? How much time speaking of time, so like, How much time do you feel like you can, you're able to, to invest in, in this business on like a weekly basis. Colleen Schnettler 28:34 So that has been a roller coaster of adventure. But I am trying to, I'm working on arranging my schedule. So I have one full day a week to do simplify upload. Which still doesn't feel like a lot of time but like this last consulting client, I had, you know, consulting Did you consult before what did you do when you started drip? Were you full time were you? Derrick Reimer 29:00 Yeah, I actually haven't done a ton of consulting myself. I sort of hopped from like trying to start my own things to then working with Rob, my co founder of drip, like doing some like, part time contractor stuff with him. And then I kind of quickly moved into a full time with him. So I sort of skipped the consulting phase that a lot of a lot of us founders go through. Colleen Schnettler 29:20 But you had a full time job before that. I actually Derrick Reimer 29:23 was I was like, fresh out of college and living cheaply and nice, like competed in a startup competition and like 110 $1,000 one year that was like enough for my expenses. Yeah, basically, I was sort of just yeah, parlaying some savings and stuff like that. So it's sort of a funky little journey. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 29:44 So you never had a full time job. Derrick Reimer 29:47 I didn't, I did. Actually, tail end of college. It was in a completely different industry. It was I was working for a small company that was selling landscape products to nurseries so It was like, it was a summer job. It was like a family friend, small business summer job turned into like a, I worked at it like full time tail end of college when I was thinking about getting an MBA. And it was actually some of the best work experience I had. Because, I mean, it's like, it's like brick and mortar business, like getting on the phone, calling truckers doing like handling, putting out fires, like in real time. It was pretty, it was pretty interesting, but not not in the tech industry. Colleen Schnettler 30:30 Wow. So you, so that so you've always been doing this as your career? building businesses? Derrick Reimer 30:38 Yeah, pretty much. But I started I mean, when I started out in when I was fresh out of college, and then trying to get stuff off the ground. I was, I was making all these classic mistakes. I was like, I was kind of a hobbyist developer, learning web development, started some things, never talked to a customer just like built a product and then was like, Oh, I need to actually think about marketing. So yes, I definitely like, like, went through school of hard knocks, learning those, learning those lessons the hard way until and I Colleen Schnettler 31:09 don't know if there's a different way to learn it. Right? Like, I don't know. I mean, we all okay, so like, I can use this example, this is my first product. And I had a million ideas before this, none of them got off the ground. And I don't know, sometimes, sometimes it feels like you just have to ship something like for your first product or the early days, like you just have to build something and ship something and then see what happens and then learn. learn this stuff as you go. Well, I Derrick Reimer 31:37 also think there's something to be said for like, especially in that early in those earlier days. For me, I was much younger, I had didn't have as many financial responsibilities. So it was a pretty low risk time for me, you know, but like, so yes, I didn't get a successful SAS app out of it. But I, what I did get was like a high degree of proficiency in Ruby on Rails, and learned a lot of like, what not to do more of what not to do than what to do camp in terms of like building a business. But that was still valuable experience that I took with me. And so even when, you know, I've built products that have not actually been commercially viable, like, yeah, building things, shipping things is still a valuable exercise. For sure. But I think I think that's not I don't think that's where you're at with this one. Honestly, I think this one is I mean, 1300 MRR, you you've proven it's, this is a, this is a business now, because you have customers, they're paying you. You've made it at least past that phase of like, Oh, no, did I build something that no one wants? So I think you're, yeah, I'm hearing in your voice that you're not sure if you've built something that like will actually that you could actually grow, I think you can grow this thing. I do think you can grow this thing. Colleen Schnettler 32:48 I mean that and for me, that's kind of like, what, that's what I'm really unsure about, like, you know, going from zero to 1000 makes it feel like a real business. But like 1000 to 10,000 is a whole different ballgame. Right? Like that's, that's a lot of money. I mean, so it Yeah, so that's kind of the like, man, can I grow this? Derrick Reimer 33:10 Well, the nice The beautiful thing about SAS though is it does compound right so so you have your you have a churn rate, we all have a churn rate. And but but they're definitely not churning out like, like, even if you stopped getting soft acquiring customers, he would still be kind of a slow progression down to zero, like these things, these things, that's why they have have this flywheel effect going. And so I mean, it kind of, you know, SAS fundamentals, you figure out where what your traffic channels are going to be, you go this is an oversimplification, but still like this is fundamentally what it is like you figure out what your traffic channels are going to be. And then you work on optimizing your conversion rate, top of the funnel to the next phase, all the way down to you know, trials, or what would have restructured all the way down to becoming a repeat paying customer. And provided you continue doing marketing activities that increase that top of funnel number of people coming to your website and trickling through like Plinko trickling through your funnel, you're gonna add customers, you know, each month, and before you know it, you know, you're gonna have 1000s of MRR 10s of 1000. Now, like that's kind of how these things grow, which is why I love SAS. Colleen Schnettler 34:21 Can we go back to something you said earlier that I didn't hone in on but I want to I want to revisit real quick. You said you don't think I could market to both the no code space and the Heroku space. So my reading between the end you're right like I only have one day a week and I'm still developing it's an act of development like their stuff it doesn't do yet that it needs to do. And and I read between the lines there but I just want to verbalize so I should focus on the Heroku people right because I own those keywords. Yeah, I Derrick Reimer 34:48 think so. I think okay, I would I would do is probably try to try to optimize the heck out of that and try to try to figure out now I know you're there. bummer. Is that like you get limited data from Heroku? I don't know. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 35:03 that is really frustrating, by the way. Derrick Reimer 35:06 Yeah. I don't know if there's any, anything creative you could do to? Like, I would be curious how much traffic does your add on page get? Like? Do they share any kind of analytics like that? Colleen Schnettler 35:15 They do. So once a week, they they Oh, no, you know what? They allow me to add a Google snippet. Oh, Google Analytics snippet to the add ons page. So I do see the traffic I get there. Okay, so I don't see anything else. But like, I do see how many visitors I have? Derrick Reimer 35:33 Are you comfortable stating on air what the traffic number looks like? Colleen Schnettler 35:37 So I get, so I do weekly, weekly reports for myself for pageviews. So last week, I got 275 page views on the Heroku elements page. And I mean, I've no concept of that a lot. If that's a little like, I don't really know how you even valuate something like that? Well, Derrick Reimer 35:59 and it is. So it's, that's a small number, like in terms of like website traffic numbers, but but it is also like, presumably, it's pretty highly targeted, like these are people who they're searching in there specifically for a solution to this problem. So like, probably a view from Heroku is from the Heroku marketplace, like that is worth more, it's maybe worth I don't know, 10 times more than just a random like website visitor view, you know? Colleen Schnettler 36:26 Yeah. What does it tell you? If I'm getting 275 page of views a week, but I get on average, two new customers a week? What is that from that page? Does that right? What would you take from that information? Derrick Reimer 36:39 Um, so I, to me, that feels like potentially there's an opportunity to, to put some work into experiments experimenting with trying to optimize that a little bit. So it would be like, what's the kind of like, stuff you and Michelle talk about, you know, what's the? What's the language that's going to resonate the most with people? Can you you know, is there? I'm just kind of looking at your, your ad on page here. What does it do? Yes, some good images here. I like that file upload without maintaining infrastructure. That seems really good for what, for the hypothesis that we've discussed here on like, what people are really wanting, but I'd be curious, like, you know, if if, like, testing a different lead headline would potentially be a better hook? I don't know. Yeah. So I think there's some, I mean, it's, yeah, again, it's tricky, because you can't really do like a true A B test, the traffic is not traffic is not high enough, either, where you could do like a true like scientific split test. So it's gonna be a little bit more of like, just maybe a little bit of experimentation on on, kind of getting your tightening up positioning and all that kind of stuff. So I would maybe spend a little bit of time on, on playing with that. But, but aside from that, I'm not sure how much more you really have control over on this specific place. So then I would, I would probably start thinking about, I mean, still marketing to the same type of person who would be looking for this in the Heroku marketplace, but going outside of the Heroku marketplace. So right. You know, again, like I would I would kind of thumb through traction and see if see if anything jumps out as like, who I think I think that one might work for me. But like, I do think, you know, like, like, an example would be like, what if you wrote some guides on like, specifically targeting, like, keywords on uploading Heroku you know, like a guide called How to upload files in Heroku. And, and you could even funny that you could even, like, describe how to do it without using your product. And it would probably be like, it'd be a big old long article with a lot of details in it. That's, like, Oh, my gosh, is so terrible, then, like interspersed throughout you could be like, do you want to skip all this? Just click this button. You know, yeah. And, Colleen Schnettler 39:01 and, you know, I think as I I as a developer, like someone's content, like, we'll get me to buy their product, like I like the autoscaler I use I bought it because he had a such a great content piece on picking your dinos. I was like, Oh, this guy knows knows what's up, like, I'm gonna buy this. Yeah, so that's a great idea. Derrick Reimer 39:19 I like that. That makes that makes good sense. Um, have you this just came top of mind. Like, have you talked to anyone at Heroku By the way, like anyone in their sort of partnerships integrations? Colleen Schnettler 39:33 Yes. So they, they require you to talk to them in the beginning, but I don't have to talk to them anymore. Derrick Reimer 39:39 Okay. I'm curious if there's an opportunity to to potentially get featured somewhere like I don't know if they have a blog, a newsletter, kind of like a integrations highlight thing. I feel like you know, you're, you're one of the only people right now is actually filling this gap of like, uploads for their platform. So there might be an opportunity. I'm not sure what the name of this role would be just like somebody, somebody in the market on the marketing team or the content team or something, maybe go start with, like your kind of contacts that you initially had at at Heroku. But like, it seems like, I don't know, if you could get a newsletter feature from them. That would be Yeah, potentially really high value, or some kind of feature somewhere on their site. I'm not sure all the all the different ways they have to promote their integrations. But it's, I mean, it serves their their interest to, to, like promote this thing that's solving a problem that their customers have. So there might be like, a little co marketing opportunity there. Colleen Schnettler 40:42 Yeah. How do you decide how to split your time between your marketing efforts and your development efforts? Derrick Reimer 40:50 Yeah, that's a it's a tough problem. Because the context switching is, is it's pretty heavy. Like it's very different. Very different disciplines. I, I've experimented with sort of doing like, I don't know about I think everyone has their different like, way their brains work. For me. It's like I'm, I'm at my best in the morning. And then it's kind of all downhill from there. Colleen Schnettler 41:18 Like, I'm a morning morning work person. Yes, yeah. Derrick Reimer 41:20 So I used to, I used to do like, kind of slice the day up a little bit. And I would spend, and so naturally, I would spend my mornings on engineering stuff, and then kind of give the leftovers to marketing. And I found that was kind of hard to do. Like, for me, it didn't work that great. And usually, by the end of the day, I was sort of so burned out, like, if I was really good at my job in the morning, that just meant there was almost nothing left at the end of the day. So I struggled to make progress on that. So I've been a fan of, you know, trying to, like, use the Primetime for marketing on specific days, if I'm going to, if I'm really need to, like, do a heavy task, like write something or, or do like a lot of creative work on something some, some marketing tasks are just like, they're pretty rote. And you can just sort of slot them in wherever but other things, you know, require a lot of creative energy, right? And, yeah, coming up with with a plan or whatever. So I don't know, I I've, I've kind of liked doing sort of dedicating a day or two to that. But I think it kind of, I don't know, I've never I haven't come up with something very rigid for myself, like, like, Mondays are always gonna be marketing. It's just, there's, there's too many things changing all the time, too many dynamics and an early stage company that I haven't found, like for myself a rigid kind of cadence to work. But I do feel like trying to look at like, in the span of a week, how much did I invest into marketing and kind of have at least a gauge in my head on that, you know, if you go a week without investing anything into marketing, but then again, for you, you said one day a week, so maybe it's you might need to stretch that out and say, like, you know, one day on every other week, it's like, focus on marketing versus focus on product, like, that may be what you have to do. And that's perfectly fine. I Colleen Schnettler 43:17 tried to do so when I was trying, I was trying to do like marketing an hour every day. And like, I do it first thing when I was fresh, but like the context switching, oh my gosh, it was killing me because like, you get into a tat and then you know, job. So I'd like get into a task. And then it was like, oh, but now I have to stop mid in this task and like, do this other thing. It just yeah, it wasn't working. So I guess I'll just play around with that. But I like to maybe every other week or something because it takes me a while to like get into the marketing. mindset, ya know? Derrick Reimer 43:51 Yeah. Yeah. And honestly, like, the another area like I, I feel like your product is, is in a place where Obviously, these products are never done. There's always things to add, we all have roadmaps, but maybe I'll push you on this too, like you might need to spend like the next couple of weeks, for example, like really just thinking giving your best mental energy to kind of the marketing piece like, Alright, you're sort of at this place where like, I'm not sure what to do next. And that that might mean it's the time to, to, you know, set the product work aside for a little bit for a couple of weeks, even and kind of work through, you know, maybe working through this traction book or working through some other frameworks to kind of think about because yeah, it's it's hard to when you're just thinking about like, Okay, well, what should I What should I do to grow next, but you're only giving yourself like an hour or two. It's like, that's not enough time to really like, Alright, let's just we need you to like sit, sit back, open up your mind. Really just think for hours on this and it's hard to like, just sit sit down and like be like, I'm gonna think now for three hours straight. Like that doesn't work, obviously, but like giving yourself the room to just sort of Google around a bit and just kind of let your mind go free a little bit and sort of brainstorm and jot things down on a whiteboard or whatever works for you. And sort of think, like, marketing does require a fair amount of creativity, like just doing what works for other people blindly doesn't necessarily. It's not necessarily the most efficient path, like sometimes it requires like, like sitting back and trying to come up with those insights like, yeah, maybe a sandbox account or something like that, you know, like, yeah, and yeah, but you have to give yourself time to, to come up with those insights. Colleen Schnettler 45:41 Yeah, a little space, I see exactly what you mean, like you kind of have the space in your brain? Yeah. And so I do have one more question for you. So you've sold a few companies? How have you made the decision? And I know, there's gonna be a lot of like, personal goals, and etc, etc. But like, generally speaking, how do you identify when the right time to sell is for you? And for the business? Things like that? Derrick Reimer 46:07 Right. Yeah, so I've just talked through the things that I have sold like. So I started a product called code tree that I did kind of in tandem, when I was working at drip. And gradually, like, My role at drip sort of increased to the point where like, I became, like, I was fully invested fully in on this on this journey. So like, What started out as a side project, I was like, maybe this will be my next, my full time job. At some point, I'll kind of move on from drips like that, the dynamics of that relationship changed, I got more serious with my commitment to drip. So then I had like this product that was on the side that I wasn't really, that I didn't feel like I could really invest the time into. And I didn't have the motivation to like to work basically two jobs and like, do the nights and weekends thing. Like I was like, No, I'm not gonna do that. And so it was sort of just sitting on the side. And I determined like, I think, I think someone could grow this, I think this is still worth something. And since it was still growing a little bit, it hadn't, like, started to like, really contract and, and shrink. I was like, this is probably an optimal time for me to get it off my plate. Right. Okay. So that was one drip was obviously a much different situation. It was a fully scaled up applications. It was a strategic acquisition. And so that's sort of in a different in a different bucket. I feel like, Colleen Schnettler 47:30 Yeah, I think so. Derrick Reimer 47:32 I product that I started, kind of before savvy cow was called static kit. And it was like a tool, toolkit of products for static site builders, and I just never really never really got good traction with that. And so that one was like, Okay, I was sort of, out of ideas and motivation on how to grow it. And I was ready to move on to something else. And so I ended up selling that one, because it's like, well, if if I happen to have a competitor, and I felt like they were kind of moving in that similar direction, and maybe it would be worth something to them to, like, have a little a little jumpstart on some, some of this some of the code that I wrote. So that worked out. So it's sort of been like, yeah, the times I've sold things, it's like, it's either not a good fit with my, with my goals in my life anymore. Yeah, or I feel like it's, it's better to capture it, harvest the value now and like cash out now, as opposed to like, continuing to try to try to move it forward. Colleen Schnettler 48:34 I don't know if this was your intention, but like, I'm feeling super pumped right now. Like, this feels like part advice, podcast part, like pep talk. Yeah. Like, the fact that that, you know, I just think some of the things we talked about, like seeing a path forward is is really great, because I have found through this whole journey, if you will, a lot of it just seems to be like managing my own psychology. Like, Oh, can I do this? Is this gonna work? Like Yeah, but epic failure. There's just so much of this like, like cyclical, like, Oh my gosh, I'm brilliant. I came up with the most, you know, amazing thing ever to be like, no one wants this. It's terrible. So, you know, I've really, I've really found that to be interesting, very different from like, working a traditional job is like, there's a lot of, like, personal you know, you know, personal stuff wrapped up starting a business. Derrick Reimer 49:27 Yep. Yeah. No, totally. I mean, that's kind of the whole name of the game, honestly. And I don't have any great answers on how to manage that. Because it's, I mean, I feel like probably every founder is kind of in the same in the same boat on this one. And it's like, yeah, that's that's a tough one to solve. But having these kinds of conversations is good. I think, you know, like being, getting getting outside perspectives and talking stuff through doing your weekly podcast. That's all hopefully helpful in that Staying sane. Colleen Schnettler 50:02 That's amazing. Thank you so much, Derek for coming in today. I had a wonderful time talking to you. Obviously we ran a little bit long, but like this conversation was super valuable for me. So I really appreciate it. Derrick Reimer 50:15 You're welcome. I love talking through this stuff. So happy to happy to do it. Colleen Schnettler 50:19 So that's going to wrap up this week's episode of the software social podcast, you can check out Derek's product savvy cow and please let us know what you think we love it. If you enjoyed the show, if you would leave us an iTunes review Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Jul 8th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: If you are entering an industry with long sales cycles, hiring a salesperson with experience and relationships in the industry can move you forward a lot quicker. You can leverage already approved cloud service agreements to short circuit the enterprise sales process Action Steps: You have a few avenues to pursue and each has its own first steps; Start creating your own pre-recorded training content and posting to YouTube Become a consultant (similar to what Zoom already offers) Start engaging with larger companies and be willing to endure a longer sales cycle (5-12 months) Regardless of your starting point, you’ll probably want to ultimately sell services to larger companies and work towards understanding and integrating more deeply with their needs. Once you are integrating with large companies, focus on beating their existing content. It will need to be less boring than competitors but also make sure that it’s boring enough to fit within company standards. Links: TrackStar.ai – Predictive Credit Technology A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload The State of Video Conferencing in 2020 [50 Statistics] Zoom Online Event Consulting Services Requests for Startups <em>Clint Lotz is the founder of TrackStar.ai which Provides Machine Learning Technology to Lenders that Uncovers Future Borrowing Patterns Within Their Existing Data leading them to untapped revenue opportunities.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]
Jul 7th — In this episode I talk to Andrey Azimov (@andreyazimov) about moving to Bali with a $3K runway and launching his "Hardcore Year." I'll ask him about the projects he launched to reach $10K MRR. Follow Andrey's journey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreyazimov Check out his personal site: https://www.andreyazimov.com/ Create a website from a spreadsheet: https://www.sheet2site.com/
Jul 6th — Topics this week: Rick took some time off, but is wondering if he earned it. Tyler wrote five blog posts in one day, and wonders if this should be the new approach to blogging. Rick decided to wait for Memberstack updates before taking on a coding project he was planning. Rick is using Outseta for his next technical project to diversify away from Memberstack. He plans to have the done in the next week. Rick is still waiting to decide how to handle the API vendor that closed down his account. Tyler is diving into design and is interested in improving his skills. Tyler has found a couple promising use cases for his new iPad which he mostly hates. The big topic for this week: What are ways a company can fairly share profits with employees? Specifically, is it better to pay current employees more, or hire more people to spread the wealth around.
Jul 6th — Pre-order Michele's book on talking to customers! https://deployempathy.com/order Marie's course, Notion Mastery: https://notionmastery.com/ Marie's Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariepoulin Marie's YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKvnOhqTeEgdNt1aJB5mVng Marie's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariepoulin/ Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by Approximated . If you need to connect custom user domains to your app, Approximated can help. It can route any domain or subdomain to any application, all easily managed with a simple API or web dashboard. You can have unlimited connected domains automatically secured with SSL certificates for one flat rate. Website builders, communities and marketplaces all happily use Approximated every day to manage thousands of custom domains for their users. And it was built by an indie founder just like you, so every support request is handled by a developer who will personally help you out. Head over to Approximated.app today and mention Software Social when you sign up to get an extra month for free. Michele Hansen Hey, welcome back to Software Social. We have another guest with us this week. I am so excited to have my friend, Marie Poulin, here today. She is the creator of Notion Mastery, which is this amazing Notion course that has over 1200 students, averaging $45,000 MRR. Pretty amazing business that she has built up. Welcome to Software Social, Marie. Marie Poulin 01:18 Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to chat. Michele Hansen 01:21 So um, people listening may know you from all of your YouTube videos and courses with Notion, which have been crazy successful, and only, only, since October 2019, since you launched it, but I actually want to talk about something else. So you had another business, a course business called Doki, and actually, the last time I spoke, like, like, like, actually spoke with you like, internet friend is so funny. Like, I feel like I talk to you all the time, but actually, like talk to you, talk to you, was you and your husband, Ben, were thinking about what to do with Doki and whether you should sell it or shut it down. Marie Poulin 02:15 Yes, and you very kindly reached out with some suggestions on how we might handle that. And it, it sort of wasn't, I don't want to say it wasn't our passion anymore, but yeah, you know, Ben got offered a full time gig. So for anybody listening, my husband and I teamed up back in 2014 to, to run our company together. We built a software and we ran it for I mean, five-ish years or so, and I think neither one of us was, it was definitely our first software project. And it was that build a giant software project that does all of the things and, you know, kind of wishing that we had done something smaller when we learned about the whole software building all of the different pieces. And so when we first went to MicroCon, that was, it was just so eye opening how many things we had done wrong, and it was it was a really wonderful learning experience. But I think it kind of showed us that there were parts of that, that just, I don't know that either of us was super excited to go 100% all in on it. I liked the working with people side of online courses and actually shipping and working on their websites, and just all of, all the other pieces of it other than the software. And so the burden was really on Ben to build all the features and do customer support, and, you know, he was pretty much like the solo founder handling all of those parts of the software, and I was handling more of the consulting side of it. And it was a huge burden on him. It was huge. And so when he got offered a full time job, it was a chance for him to step into more of a leadership role, be challenged, be working with other people, and it just, he really flourished. And I think it was something he was missing. Like, when you're a solo founder, you're just, you know, you're wearing every single hat. You're making all the decisions. And if you're bumping up against stuff you've never seen, it's pretty tough. It's a tough life to be, to be solo founder. So I was really encouraging him to, to kind of explore this new venture, but it sort of meant that Doki got left in the dust a little bit. And so we kind of took our foot off the gas, and just in this year in January 2021 we decided what if we just kind of shut down signups and, and just kind of let it do its thing and just kind of keep supporting the clients that were still using it, more like our consulting clients and not really market at widely. And so we did and I was like, how do you feel about this? And he's like, oh, I feel I feel so relieved. And I think that was really important that it didn't feel sad. It didn't feel like oh no, we're shutting this thing down. Like he felt like no, this is a chapter of my life that was great. And now it's over. So it's been a journey. Michele Hansen 04:54 So, I mean on, you know, on this podcast, you know, we talk a lot about like, getting a SaaS off of the ground, or I guess, in my case now, like, getting an info product off the ground, and then also running those companies. But there's this other phase of it, which is exiting, and sometimes exiting means selling a company, or, you know, being acquihired by someone, or it means shutting it down. And I'm wondering if you can kind of talk through that a little bit about how you guys decided to sunset it, rather than sell it. Marie Poulin 05:37 Yeah, because we had gone through this conversation back and forth. And we even had, you know, several people who had made offers to buy, and it felt actually pretty close, like, that was something we were really seriously considering. And again, you're, it was just really, really valuable to get your, your insights on that, and to have somebody that, you know, not attached to it just kind of as an outsider giving us perspective on that. And so we, we had some meetings, and we definitely considered it, and I think the burden of what would have needed to happen to be able to make that handoff happen in a way, such that it could actually be successful for those who are taking it over, felt too big for Ben. I think it was, again, given that his attention was elsewhere, it there was just such a cognitive load associated with all of that cleanup work, and just, just kind of the whole process of that transition. And it's possible that it may not have actually been that much work. It's kind of hard to know, in hindsight, but I think the anticipation of that, and just, you know, when Ben does something, he wants to do it properly, and he wouldn't have felt good, I think to just kind of pass it off as is knowing how much legacy work needed to be rebuilt. And he, he just didn't feel comfortable with it. And I was like, you know, I don't know this stuff as well as you do. And if you feel really confident and happy to just kind of say, you know, what, we're totally cool to just, like, the, the amount just kind of doesn't match up with, with what it would be worth to do that work, and how much extra time it would have taken him outside of his full time job. It just, it didn't feel like it was quite worth it to do that investment of the work. So that was a decision I sort of felt it was kind of up to them to make as a burden was really on him, and I think he felt a huge relief, honestly, even just like taking the signup off of the site. And just realizing, like, our business has gone in such a different direction, and it's okay to say goodbye to this chapter, and so it felt good. And I think that was really important is can we stand behind this decision? Does it feel good? Does it release a certain, you know, energetic burden, and it really did, and so that we felt good at the end of the day, for us that, that was the right decision. Michele Hansen 07:44 I'm struck by how much respect I hear in that. You know, there's the respect that you have for Ben, that this was something that he knew really well and what like, had, you know, that, that, that transition work would have been on on him and your respect for that. And then his and also sort of both of your respect for your emotions, and recognizing those as valid and worth prioritizing, and, because I think some people say, oh, well, I'll, you know, get a lot of money from this. So you know, screw my feelings, like, you know, just have to suck it up, suck it up and do it. Like, I mean, the the market for even small SaaS companies like Doki, like, like, just for content, like, how much was Doki, like, making when you decided to shut it down? I mean, Ben would certainly have a better sense of the numbers at that point that we made the decision. I mean, certainly the pandemic did have a big impact. And we'd already kind of stopped doing any new feature development, even maybe the year before the pandemic hit. So I would say, you know, at its height, maybe $50,000 in a year. So we had some months that were like 4k, maybe 5k, and so by the time we shut it down, it was like 2500 to 2000. Like, nothing to sneeze at in terms of it was very low maintenance and, you know, covers our mortgage and expensive, like, that's awesome. But there is that mental load that's required there that you're kind of always thinking about that uptime, or you're thinking about how long, how long can we go not adding any features and not doing anything to really kind of improve or support or even do any marketing. So in some ways, it sort of felt like there was a time limit on how long we could get away with just, just letting it kind of simmer in the, in the background and not give it its full attention, and so it didn't feel good in that way that it it did have this sort of energetic burdensome feeling, and so respect is is absolutely huge. Like, you know, both Ben and I are incredibly autonomous. Like, we have always kind of worked almost like two separate founders under the same brand umbrella. So even when we partnered up, we still very much had our own projects, our own clients, and there's a lot of trust there with like, Ben and I are very different people, very different types of projects, very different things that light us up. And so, you know, Ben has higher anxiety than I do, and when we first launched Doki, I know the feeling of always being on and having to answer those customer support questions, and I think it takes a bigger toll on him than, than it might other people. And so that has to be factored in, like, what's the point of building these, like, software and these businesses that support our lives when it's just adding to our daily stress? Like, that's, that's not the point, right? So I think for both of us, it does really matter. Like, what kind of life are we building for ourselves? And if, are we building something that just feels like another job, but we just kind of built our own jail? Like, that's, that's not really fun. So I think we have a lot of understanding and respect for, yeah, what kind of life are we building, and ideally reducing stress and not adding to it so that, that was really important to me that he felt really good about that enclosure and didn't feel like oh, this was a failure, or, you know, it didn't go the way we wanted. For me, I'm like, holy crap, we learned an epic crap ton. You know, we just, it was just absolute, you know, entrepreneurship school on steroids. Like, you know, you just learned so many different parts from your customer research and the technical capacity and all the decisions that once you've done it once, and then it's almost too late, like, the wheels are in motion, and you've already, there's already, like, technical debt as soon as you started. It's a wonderful learning opportunity, and part of us wishes we'd tried it on something small, but my gosh, the learning has been incredible. So I don't, I don't regret any of it, and I don't think he does, either. It's the reason he has the job that he does now. It, he's, he's just like, both of us, I think are just highly skilled people that are going to adapt whatever happens like okay, cool. That was an awesome chapter. Next. What's next, you know. You guys are incredibly emotionally intelligent and atuned, and, I mean, yeah, I mean, that you take that kind of focus is really, I think, remarkable and really commendable. And, you know, so after we had we had talked last fall, I guess, you guys were still kind of, you were unclear on whether you were going to shut it down or you were going to sell it, and I just tweeted out if anybody was interested in buying a SaaS, I think I said it had like 2.4k MRR. And I got so many messages after that, but I actually just got another one last week, and I got one, like, three months ago, like, the market for really, like really tiny SaaS companies is just, just bonkers. And I think it's so amazing that you prioritized how, like, not just the money, but how you felt about it. Now, of course that the notion courses making 45,000 a month and Ben has a full time job, like, that sort of makes it a little bit easier to make decisions that are not just guided by the financials, I imagine. Marie Poulin 13:16 Definitely. That's true. Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure that, that was a part of it was just, okay, we're not we don't have to make a purely financial decision right now, so what's going to feel, yeah, what's gonna feel the best? And I guess, yeah, I guess they didn't realize that maybe not everybody is as driven that way, but I'm definitely a very feelings driven person, and I know, we've talked about this a little bit with, with the sort of, you know, likely being an ADD or ADHD founder, and just, I didn't realize before, I think, how much of my decision making around how I've shaped my business has been, like, I've talked about it in terms of alignment and, you know, values-driven and that sort of thing. But I think part of it is I cannot muster up the energy to do stuff I'm not super freakin' stoked about. So I do kind of factor that into all my decisions. Like, I'm never going to design services that I'm going to be resentful of as soon as I'm designing them. It's like, if I already know I'm going to be resentful doing all these calls, like, I just cannot make that, that service available. So I do think I've gotten pretty tuned into like, alright, what's the stuff that lights me up, and how do I craft my offers so that I can be totally shining and excited about them? Because that, that's just, I guess, how I move through the world. Michele Hansen 14:34 It seems like you combine this incredible self-awareness about what energizes you and prioritizing what energizes you with this huge sense of responsibility for the users of what you have created. Marie Poulin 14:54 Yeah, I'd like, I'd like to think so. I mean, you know, one of the things that happened when we first launched Doki, was that people were signing up for it, and then they weren't shipping. Right? It's like anything now, like the time that it takes to actually launch a course, and I know you've had, you know, episodes with Colleen about this of just what it really takes to really grow an online course and actually make it a sustainable living. And so people would, would sign up thinking the tech was gonna solve that for them, and they're all, like, ready to go, and they they pick the technology well before they have their content created. And it didn't feel good that there were people paying us a monthly thing and they had never shipped a course yet. So, the first thing I did was like, well, we need to get people shipping faster, how do I do this? And I ended up creating a course that was run your learning launch that was trying to get people to like, get the shitty first draft of your course out as soon as possible, right. Like, co-create it with people. I'm a huge, huge believer, in co-creating products with your people. They are going to tell you what they want, they tell you what they need, and then the words that they use in those sessions, in those live calls that you're doing with people, that's exactly what shapes your, your sales pages and stuff. So I, I'm just a big fan of working with people on this stuff, and not just, you know, working in secret for six months building a thing, and then you know, putting it out into the world. Like, we know that it just it just doesn't work that way. So yeah, I think I do carry a huge, huge respect for, for the users that are signing up for my thing. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. And so even right now with, with the course, I've been working for six months on the new curriculum. It's like, where can I look at all the places that people are stumbling, and maybe we overwhelm new, new people that are coming in like going, oh, my gosh, this course is so big, and then they get scared, and they run away and then they don't complete the course. Like, it does matter to me not just that they complete it, but they actually do experience some kind of transformation through that process. So like, how can I improve the learning outcomes? How can I design this better? I can't help myself, like maybe that's partly a bit of perfectionism. But it's like, I want this to be a really epic experience for them and be really memorable. And, in a way, that's my marketing, right? It's like other people sharing with other people, their experience of the course. To me that feels way better, and way easier than like, chucking a bunch of money into ads and just like getting it in front of people. It's like, no, I want the users to be so excited about it, that they are shouting it from the rooftops and getting people in the door. So yeah, that matters for sure. Michele Hansen 17:20 It's so interesting, you're talking about like, building collaboratively with people, and, you know, I like I'm a huge advocate of talking to people and talking to customers, but I never really built in public, so to speak, until a couple of months ago, when I was writing my book. And you know, to what you said about, you know, getting early feedback from people and building it with them, that, that has been an incredibly, like, a transformative experience. And it's, it's really remarkable when you combine that combination of, as you said, something that you are super stoked about with other people who are stoked about it, like, you know, like to kind of, you know, talk a little bit about being like, you know, ADHD founder. So like, for so for, just to give us sort of a little bit of context. So like, I was diagnosed with ADD at 11, which I guess they don't diagnose people with anymore, because apparently, like, they were only diagnosing girls with it, or something. So now everything is all under ADHD. And you sort of are recently exploring, like, whether you're ADHD, and so but like, on this, this combination of, you know, working on something you're really passionate about, and then in the course of working on it in public, finding other people who are really passionate about it, who help you improve it, like, I feel like that puts my hyper focus in this insane overdrive. Marie Poulin 18:54 Yeah. How do you how do you control that? I'm so, I'm so curious kind of what your, Michele Hansen 18:58 I don't. I, yesterday, I was so annoyed that I had to stop working and make dinner. I was like, can't I just work for like, 48 hours straight, like, and, which is, like, not, like, I, like, my work life balance is a lot better than it used to be like, but I just like it's so, it's, like, painful when I'm really interested in something because it's like, yesterday, I was like, working on the book, like and it was just I was so, like, so fired up about what I was working on. And then I was like, okay, actually, like, we need to, we need to eat. Like, and I have you know, we have a family and like, my husband was mowing the lawn and like, you know, so I was like, okay, I need to like go to the grocery store like, I need to shift gears, but like, the whole time I was there like, you know, yes, I bought like lettuce and yogurt and whatever else we needed, but like, my brain was still like, writing. Marie Poulin 19:48 Somewhere else. Michele Hansen 19:49 Like, my brain like, was writing and I think, you know, to what you said about how you and Ben work very like, autonomously, like, Mathias and I work together for the most part, and I think this gets frustrating sometimes when I'm still thinking about something else, but I don't give any, like, outward signals of that. I'm just like, a little bit quiet. And like, he like, talks to me and like, I just don't know, Marie Poulin 20:12 You're nodding and say you're listening, but you're writing in your head. Yeah. Michele Hansen 20:14 Yeah. Like, I don't even acknowledge it or, like, I seem like I'm listening. And then he asked me 10 minutes later, like about what he had told me about, and I'm like, what, like, this is new, and he's like, seriously. Like, the hyper focus can be amazing, but also kind of detrimental at the same time because if I have to do anything else, I'm just cranky. Marie Poulin 20:40 I definitely, I definitely relate to this, and I think this was, this was one of the the signs like, I, I thought, well, I couldn't possibly have ADHD because like, I've been self-employed for 12 years, and I have a successful business and I get things done, and, you know, I sort of had a lot of misconceptions around what it meant to be or have ADHD because my sister has ADHD, too. And she is like, the poster child of what what you think of when you think of ADHD, and very hyperactive, super distracted, extremely extroverted, just like, a million thoughts, like, interrupting other thoughts. And, and I was like, okay, that's what ADHD looks like. It was very distinct. And so because I get things done, I sort of thought, I just had a different perception of it, and I realized that the hyper focus binges that I go on that were like, oh, that explains why like, it can be really hard to tear myself away from, from the screen, and it almost becomes borderline obsessive, and it can be really difficult to manage. So that is one of the signs I started to be like, oh. It always happens in these super inconsistent bursts, right? Very, very wildly inconsistent. And I always, yeah, like, frick, if you just have a dial, you could, you could, you could turn that on when you needed to, but oh my gosh, so I can relate to that. Just, it's inconvenient, and yeah, it's also the thing that helps us kind of push forward and get things done, and it's a wonderful thing when it's there, but it can happen at the detriment of other parts of our lives. So that's definitely something that I struggle with, for sure. Michele Hansen 22:13 You know, I, like, I relate so hard to that, because I can't possibly, you know, have ADHD because you get so much done. Like, when I was in college, I think there was like, a running joke about how many jobs and side projects I had at any given time. Like, I think it was like, I had, it was like, six. Like, I had a part time job, I had an internship, I had like, volunteering, I had, like, all of these like, side projects with my own going on, like, um, and, but when I, so when I was diagnosed as a kid, like it was very much presented as I had this deficit of focus. And then I had to overcome that deficit of focus, and then like, that was it. And like, I, so I was never like, really in therapy or any sort of treatment. Like I was taught how to manage that, like calendars, and like, planners became a huge part of my life. But when I was, this was when I was in elementary school. So when I was in middle school, I was supposed to have like, you know, a tutor, and like somebody who like worked with me on it, and like, a plan, they call it a 504 plan in the US, but I never actually had it because my grades were too high. And, Marie Poulin 23:21 People always think you need the support, right? Michele Hansen 23:22 Right. Because it was like, oh, like if you you know, if you have those, like if you have this deficiency, like, she's overcome the deficiency if she's getting A's and B's, so there's no problem here. And I didn't, really for me, it wasn't only until the last like six months or a year that I started understanding all of these other facets of it that, like, it's not just that sometimes I have trouble focusing on tasks I don't want to do. Like, there's all of these other things like, you, you know, that, there's the hyper focus you mentioned, there's the like, the perfectionism that you touched on earlier, you know, there are those kind of, you know, everyone's experience of it is different. But like, I, there's just so many things that like, I thought were me things that were just kidn of weird about me. And then it turns out, there's all these other people who are weird, like me, and, Marie Poulin 24:16 To read other people's descriptions, and you go, are you kidding me? Like, that's a, that's a thing? I'm not alone? Or like, I thought it was just a family quirk, and then you're like, oh, or is it that actually a good chunk of my family also, you know, like sister's diagnosed and when you look at the behaviors, you're like, oh, yeah, like, it would explain why our family kind of operates this way. And, you know, the more you start to meet people, you're like, oh, okay, there's, there's maybe a reason, too, that, and I don't know if you if you feel this too, but that for example, people with ADHD seem drawn to my work or drawn to my, my style, right? Because I think in some ways you get attracted to different people's communication styles, and I realized, like, in certain calls that I would I have with people that were very energizing, I didn't realize this at the time, it's almost like, you know, when you like, once you see it, you start to see it everywhere, of all the people that I connect with that had ADHD that I didn't know, I was like, oh my gosh, that explains why when we get on a call, neurons are firing, and we're all over the map, and we're just like changing gears, like, constantly, and it just feels like this creative spark is just like, going and going and it's incredible. It's a very different experience with someone whose brain doesn't work that way, and I, I started to clue in, I'm like, oh, maybe there's a reason. And then when you start to look at the behaviors, I'm like, okay, like, it would explain a lot. You know, and you start to kind of look backwards and be like, oh, yeah, all those behaviors start to kind of click into place. And you see, actually, things with a new lens. And when I look at past behaviors, and maybe ways I've really, really judged myself, and I was like, oh my gosh, like, I just, I didn't realize, you know, and I think for me, a big part of that is workaholism, in a way. Like I thought, I really judged myself for being like, oh, I'm like a workaholic, a workaholic. And I thought, yes, and like, it's not so black and white like that. I am very driven by the work that I do because I've so carefully crafted work that I don't hate, and so I've designed work that I love. I'm getting to connect with people and ideas get to form, and I'm always doing new things every day. So of course, like it's feeding that dopamine, I'm like, yeah, it's like, I love this. And so, it is really difficult to shut off work. And so I think I carried a lot of guilt that I work on weekends, but also take really long breaks in the middle of the day and go gardening. And so like, I have found my own ebb and flow, and I think I was really harsh on myself with some of that stuff. And then I was like, well, what if it's actually okay, that my brain is a little more activated than the average person or, or it just kind of feeds off information differently, and maybe I want to consume more courses at a time than the average person. And so it's just brought up a lot of interesting reflection that I'm seeing behaviors and maybe a different light, and that I actually find I'm being a little more compassionate with myself to be like, hey, is that Maria's personality is that ADHD? Is that me coping? Like, it's still very much learning for me. So I'm still kind of just keeping an open mind and just really trying to reflect and notice those behaviors now. Michele Hansen 27:20 You know, the, we are, you know, what's called sort of neurodivergent people living in a neurotypical world. And I think, from, you touched on sort of that, that guilt about not having sort of, quote, unquote, like, normal patterns for things and ways of thinking about things. And I think unpacking that shame that we don't fit the neurotypical box is so important, because, I think in, you know, education and kind of maybe, and like, when you're not working for yourself, like neurotypical is the standard, and people who don't meet that are kind of just outside of that. And so, like, there's like this, like, we blame ourselves for that. But if instead, you know, we can, like find ways to work on the things that we are passionate about, and that do energize us, then these, like, amazing things can be unlocked. And I think, like, I have noticed that I tend to find a lot of neurodivergent people in the kind of, like, indie SaaS courses like, internet biz world, and I wonder if that's because a lot of us have just felt like we didn't, yeah, like, we didn't really belong and like, but like, the way to, like really bring out like, what we are capable of, like, like, I remember when I worked, you know, in bigger companies, like I always, I would describe myself, like a pin and a pinball machine. Like, I just always felt like I was just like, bouncing around constantly trying to show like, what I was capable of, and like, what I was good at, and like, what I could do and what I could contribute, and that was always, like, way more and different than whatever the role I was in was supposed to be doing. And it was so frustrating. Like, it was like, deeply frustrating, you know, versus now, like, you know, I can focus on the things that, you know, sort of with, I guess, with a little bit of business knowledge, right? Because you can't just focus on things that don't lead to an income. Um, you know, like, yeah, the things that really energize, and like you've said, how this, like, managing your own brain in a way, it's kind of like, maybe what attracted you to notion in the first place, and then kind of prompted you to go on this path of making this amazingly, like, I'm so amazed by all the things you build with Notion, like this tool that, like, helps you not only steer your brain, but like express it in the way that it wants to be expressed that maybe is not really reflected and other tools. Marie Poulin 29:53 Yeah, it's a, it's a weird and wonderful thing, but it does feel like this bizarre culmination of all of my weird interests and strengths, and like even the fact that it's kind of like a No Code builder of sorts, right? It's like I have a web design background, and so I think naturally I'm inclined to build information architecture, but do it beautifully. Like, that's what I did for clients. And so, and then even like my design thinking background, and how I've studied systems, or how I've had to find these productivity systems for myself that worked. And the way certain tools, you know, are very opinionated, and they, they sort of force you into, like, like Asana, for example, everything is a task, like, it sort of forces you into one way of thinking, which is great, it's a great task manager. But I'm like, my strategic planning doesn't really fit in there, and how do I connect that to, to, and everything just kind of felt messy. And, you know, as someone with ADHD that already, already feels like I'm everywhere all the time, for me, Notion was this place where like, suddenly I could see everything that was on my plate in one place in a really easy way. So this ability to like, zoom out, zoom in very, very quickly and have it all integrated was just like, ah, everything like has come into place. And it just kind of clicked, and I think I was just so passionate, so excited about it, it felt like you know, I said life was a shit show before Notion. Like I had tried to get to, like you said, lean on calendars, we like find the systems to kind of lean on like a bit of a crutch. But there were still some systems pieces missing that Notion, in a way, forced me to build my own in a way that really worked for my brain. And I don't think it's a coincidence that just so many of the people that have joined the course or that seem really excited about it and get a lot out of it have also mentioned their own ADHD. Like, I literally just saw a message pop up in the forum, like 20 minutes ago that said how they think notion is just an ADHD friendly tool. I'm like, What an interesting thing that, again, it wasn't even on my radar a year ago or two years ago. I didn't even really think about it. I didn't, I certainly didn't even remotely suspect that I would have had it. And yet, now that I'm aware of it, and I'm seeing more conversations around neurodiversity, really just seeing how Notion gives neurodiverse folks a place to be themselves, as kind of cheesy as it sounds, like, the fact that you can just make it what you want it to be. It can be a personal growth engine, it can be a place where you organize your files, you know, daily journaling, like, you name it, whatever you want it to be, it can be a place that inspires you. And so I just, I love to show people like, well, here's how I'm using it for my garden tracking, I just love there's just endless possibilities with it. And I think if you only look at it as a productivity tool, you know, people kind of poopoo it or they're like, oh, procrastinate, procrastinating on building their setups, and let you know, people have all sorts of opinions about it. But I actually think it is, it's a tool for managing your emotions just as much it is as a tool for managing your information. So I find it quite fascinating from a tool for making you more mindful about how you work and what you need, and just noticing your energy. And I didn't, I didn't know all that stuff wasn't stuff that other people did. It's not till showing it to people, and they're like, holy crap, this is the most organized thing I've ever seen in my life. And I'm like, me, are you kidding me? Because like, I see the baseline the scenes, right? It's like, it's, it's funny to me the things that it's only once, you know, to bring it back to your conversation about sharing in public, working in public. When you make your thinking visible, and you share what you're doing out there, that's where I think you start to see what are those spiky points of view that you have? Or what are the interesting ways that you approach stuff that people are like, whoa, I didn't even think of it that way. So yeah, I'm curious, too, in you sharing your stuff publicly, and doing the writing publicly, like, has anything surprised you that you put out there and you're like, oh, wow, I didn't expect that to really land for people or, you know, what did you notice in your process of sharing your stuff publicly? Michele Hansen 33:53 Yeah, I mean, so something that actually has surprised me in the last, I've had two people in the last week, tell me how the introduction of my book made them completely rethink how they approach other people. And, Marie Poulin 34:11 Wow Michele Hansen 34:12 How they like, didn't even like, they didn't realize like, the extent of empathy and what it was and how they could use it and how it can help them be a better you know, coworker or person and, like, not just someone who's better at making landing pages or making product decisions. And I started out, like, I, so I, the the introduction, I actually originally didn't really have a very good introduction of the book. Like, I didn't define empathy very much or anything. And then one of my early readers was like, I think, I think you need to introduce this a little more. And so I did, and then like, it basically sounds like people are, some people like reading the first 10 pages and then being like, whoa, and then like, going on this other path. And then like, and then they're like, okay, well when I actually like, need to build something I'll come back here for the scripts. But like, having this, and, you know, like we've talked, like we've talked a lot about, like emotional intelligence here, and like, I've had my own journey with there and like, talking about, you know, workaholism, like, is that is that a trait? Or is that a trauma response? Like, it's kind of both, like, and like, so that has been a really important journey for me. By the way, if that resonates with anyone that's called the flight response, just Google that. And, and so that like, like, I have this kind of like, this, like, little dream that like, you know, like, people, nobody puts like, be more empathetic on their to daily to do list, maybe some, maybe you do. But like, nobody really doesn't. But they put like, you know, get more sales, like, write a new landing page, like, figure out which features I should build. Like, those are the things that come up on people's to do lists. And so I have this, like, kind of dream that like, in the process of helping people do those things they already want to do that they will become more empathetic in general and learn that this is a skill that they can apply not just to business, but to the rest of their life, because it's been such an important journey for me, because it's something that I really didn't really learn until my 20s. And, and, yeah, I mean, that's, I don't know. Yeah, it's been very, like, it's been very soul-nourishing for me. Marie Poulin 36:31 The process of writing and sharing? Michele Hansen 36:34 Yeah, I think like, in a very unexpected way, and, you know, kind of talking about ADHD, and so it sounds like what you're doing, like, you sound very much like a systems thinker. And you have built this sort of digital system that reflects your mental system, and in the process of doing so, you're helping people realize that, you know, they could build off of that to build something that reflects their mental system. And it's like, and you're helping them really like, blossom into, into expressing their thinking. And what I'm doing, like, I have, I have had feedback from people who have said, they are ADHD, or autistic, and they have said that, like, this is very, very different for them, for, I mean, for those two groups for very different reasons. But like, I've had people tell me, like, I don't think I'm capable of doing this because, you know, as you said, there's a kind of that stereotype of people who are ADHD that they, like, you know, talk over the people, like, can't stay on a topic, like, you know, just all of that, which, like, I mean, I think if we weren't doing a podcast right now, like, we would be excitedly talking over each other right now, like. Marie Poulin 37:53 I was wondering. Michele Hansen 37:54 I, like, am really holding back. Marie Poulin 37:57 Which is exhausting, right? It's like, it takes a lot of energy to, like, tone it down, be normal, like, Michele Hansen 38:04 Oh, I'm gonna go jump on the trampoline after this. But, like, for me, it's like this weird thing, because, because I didn't learn, like, this either wasn't built into me, or I didn't learn it as a kid, like, I've had to really focus on learning how to like, listen to people. Marie Poulin 38:23 You're so good at it. Michele Hansen 38:25 It became a hyper focus thing for me, like, so I feel like when I'm listening to people, like learning, like, I have to like, I think it's why people are like, oh, this made me realize these things about empathy I didn't even realize, because I had to, like learn empathy and listening at a level that most people don't have to. Like, I had to really understand it. Like, I had to really dive deep into it. Because I just didn't have that, like, I didn't, I was not born with that feature built in. So, and then, but like, I think it kind of became this thing that, like, I hyper focus on. And so like, when I'm talking to someone, like, I'm just like, I'm like, completely submerging myself into them, and like exploring their brain, and I think, you know, talking about like, systems thinkers, like, that's something I love is like, getting to understand the system of somebody else's head and like getting to, like, poke around and all the little corners and be like, oh, why is, what's going on here? Like, we're like, what do we got going on here? Like, Marie Poulin 39:29 I compare it to like, looking at their underwear drawer. You're just like, you get to see like, it's very personal, right? And people are often like embarrassed or they feel a lot of shame because, like, their their space is really messy. But I love that, right. Michele Hansen 39:42 I love mess. Marie Poulin 39:42 It's so beautiful. It's, and I will say, like, in the call that we had with you like, I was so struck by how intently it felt like you were listening. I was like, I, it was like almost disarming. Like when I got off, I was like, I can't think of the last time that someone actually was just there to listen. Like, there was no agenda there. Like, you were you were really just there to be a helpful ear, and it was just quite impressive, I have to say, I was just like, holy crap, Michele is an incredible listener. I was really blown away. And so I love that you got nerdy about listening. So nerdy. I love it. Michele Hansen 40:23 I mean, I grew up being, I think the thing, the number one thing I heard growing up was Michele, you never listened, like, you're not listening, you don't listen. Like and like, I have found complex, that I have found that the things that I'm really bad at, like, if I get over that, and then, like, I will, like intensely research it, and it will become a huge focus for me, like, I would like, so like in college, I studied international affairs and economics, and I remember in one of my first classes, one of the professors asked who knew what, like, Bretton Woods was, and, you know, I'm from New England, and I was like, I know, that's a ski resort, but like, I don't know anything else. And like, you know, it's it's the, the post-war monetary system that was set up after the war, basically, to prevent another war, economically. But I didn't like, know that, and I felt like really embarrassed. And I ended up like, really diving into the topic to the point where it was not only my thesis topic, but for like, two years, I wrote papers about related things in other classes, even when I wasn't required to. And now I have this, like, just all of this knowledge about, like, monetary relations in Europe, specifically focused on the US and Germany, like, between, like 1958, and like 1973, really intensely on the 71 to 73 period. And, like, I it's not particularly, like, for what I do, it's not really useful information, but like, kind of like, I feel like that's very similar to how I got into doing listening and interviews because, because I was so bad at it, because I didn't know what I was doing, because I was like, I felt embarrassed that I didn't know what was going on, or like, people had made me feel like I was deficient in that. Like, I think this is where that, like, that hyper focus comes in. It's like, once you like latch on to a topic, like, you can't get your teeth out of it, even if you, like, wanted to. Marie Poulin 42:28 Painfully relateable. I love that you brought this up to you because I think I've done this throughout my my career to where it's like, oh my gosh, like public speaking this is like, I'm terrible at this, I'm so afraid of it, it's like, must hire three different coaches and take five courses and like, read every book, you know. Like, just go down these crazy rabbit holes to go to such an extreme to work on a skill that you know, I was maybe like, not, not that great at it wasn't terrible, but just didn't feel like a strength. And I think I've often felt self conscious of is it a waste of time, when I should be like focusing on my real strengths. And so, I just think it's so funny. There's, there's obviously a trigger there around feeling incompetent, or like, I hate that feeling stupid or feeling like something I'm really bad at is preventing me from succeeding in business. And I, you know, I've shared before a little bit about, like, fear of being on video and fear of being on stage. And so these are all things I've obsessively worked on. And you know, I'll share like a super vulnerable moment from not, not that long ago, but there was ,there was someone who shared with me, they spoke with someone who had taken the course, and it was an older woman. I don't know when she took the course, but maybe she took it like, early on in the course building journey. It's definitely gone through a number of iterations. But she she was like, angry. She was like, oh my gosh, she goes so fast. She's all over the place. She needs to read about adult learning. Like, she's a terrible facilitator. And like, if I showed you my Notion goals page, it's like being a masterful facilitator is literally on my, my big visionary goals. And I was like, oh my God, am I, is this just like a skill I am, I am bad at? Like, it knocked me on my ass and I questioned everything. I was like, oh my god, what's going on? And in the same week, I literally had someone say that my sessions were the thing that they look forward to every week. And it was so weird to get this, like, the most negative criticism I've ever gotten, and the most positive, and it was in that same week that I had actually discovered, that I started to realize I probably had ADHD and I realized that my presentation style and my exploratory show you the possibilities, it's, it's quite different than say someone who might be a little more neurotypical, a little more instructional in style. I know that my vibe, it doesn't jive for everyone, but it really works well for people that have ADHD, and so that's where I was like, oh, crap. So, hiring a course coach, a curriculum designer, a learning advocate, like, I went all deep, and I was like, I'm going to learn about facilitation, I'm going to learn about teaching, I'm going to learn about learning design, like, how can I make this experience so good that, like, nobody could ever say anything like that? You know? And like, fair enough, if someone, like, it doesn't resonate with them, I totally get that. But it just, it just felt holy crap, like, is this is this like, a giant blind spot that I'm not seeing? And, you know, after talking to a number of students, a number of people, it was like, no, like, you know, this is someone who's not very comfortable with computers. This is someone that, like, it doesn't make sense for this type of person to be using Notion. Like, I don't think Notion is the right tool for everyone, and I don't think my instructional style is is for everyone, and I'm okay with that. I've made peace with that. And there's room to to improve that. So I definitely feel you on like, ooh, rabbit hole, here we go. Let's work on this scale. Because like, no one can criticize this again, like I would go all in, just watch me. Michele Hansen 46:04 Have you come across the term rejection sensitive dysphoria? Marie Poulin 46:08 I have. Michele Hansen 46:11 So it's this term for how, I don't, I don't have a good way of explaining it. But like, it's for how painful, like, that kind of criticism can be, and how it can either, like, prevent people from wanting something in the first place, or when you get that criticism, it i, Marie Poulin 46:30 Highly motivating. Michele Hansen 46:32 Yeah, but like, it's all-encompassing. Marie Poulin 46:35 Yeah. Michele Hansen 46:37 Like, it's, and then you said that somebody else that same week said how much they loved your course, yet, you're, You keep ruminating on the bad, right? Ruminating and obsess over and then hyper focus on that, and then go into this mode of, like, wanting to make sure that never ever happens again. And it's like this kind of extreme version of loss aversion, where, you know, we're so afraid of losing something, like, of losing that, in this case, like, that person's, you know, like, their positive feedback on the course or their, their positive experience with it, rather than focusing on the people who already had a positive experience and making it better for the people who is, because like, it's like, do you actively, like, frame your course, or some of your courses as being for ADHD people, or, like, neurodiverse people? Marie Poulin 47:33 I don't, again, part of this is I'm not officially diagnosed. And, and, you know, again, I'm still learning about this stuff. And so I partly feel like a little bit of imposter complex around this whole topic to know I want to be very careful, you know, like, just, just being mindful about how I talk about it. And, and, Michele Hansen 47:53 Everyone's experience is different of it, like, yeah. Marie Poulin 47:56 Totally, totally. And so I just want to be very careful about it, and it is something I've considered of like, maybe it would actually, like, the number of people that have watched the, I have a YouTube video where I'm teaching my sister who has ADHD how to use Notion, and the positive feedback, and the people being like, oh, my gosh, it was so nice to see normal people, like, normal people like me, you know, other people with ADHD, just, just going through this experience. And it did make me wonder like, well, hey, knowing that this is the case, and knowing that it seems to attract these people, should I go in that direction? So it's been on my mind to some, something to maybe mention, and even kind of tease out a little bit, like, in my welcome sequence. When I'm introducing myself, I'm starting to, like, try out using some of the language. And I will say, I've gotten an incredible response. Anytime I've talked about it, it's been really, really positive. So, I don't mention it, but it is something I'm like, maybe like, and should I get a diagnosis to be? Does it matter? I don't really know. I'm not really sure what the, what the protocol is there. But yeah. Michele Hansen 49:01 I mean, like, I have a diagnosis, but like, I, I feel like I don't really understand it very well, like, because I just kind of accepted it as this thing that was just wrong with me that I had to control. And then like, that was kind of it. Um, and I like so in my book, actually, in the original newsletters, like I talked about having ADHD and how, you know, focusing on people and listening and like, all that, like, were really difficult for me because of that, and I got so much positive feedback on it, but then I got it into the book, and I, like, one of my reviewers was like, you know, your experience of ADHD is not a universal one. And there's like, and they were saying there's kind of a difference between like writing it in a newsletter, where people know you and they start from a point of kind of the sort of familiarity, like, that they they trust that you come from a good place, but like writing it in a book, people won't know me people won't know like and even if I say this is only my experience of it, like, someone who has had a different experience of the diagnosis or, or like, doesn't, like, that they have the diagnosis doesn't let you know they have made been made to feel less than because of it, or worse. I think both of us kind of tend to view it as this, like, this thing that we could steer and bring out, like, bring out our true selves, so to speak. Like, so I ended up taking it out, but it also feels so relevant, like it, like it feels like this piece of information that people need to know that it's like, Yes, I was known for not being able to listen to anything, so then I focused on it to the point of it being like, this obsessive skill. Almost necessary base information. Marie Poulin 50:46 Part of the story. Michele Hansen 50:47 Yes. And the same way that like, and so I found a way to like, kind of tell that story that I had to listen, like learn how to do this, but like without using the diagnosis, but like, part of me, really. So like, maybe it's like something I can do in a talk or something like that, right? Like, there's not every, like, there's different forums for things. Marie Poulin 51:04 Not every medium needs to, yeah. Michele Hansen 51:05 And also where I can kind of explain, and if someone has like a question of like, well, that's not my experience of it, then we can talk about it afterwards. And they can know that I'm coming from a good, I don't, I don't know, I also feel conflicted, because I don't want to, like, I can only speak from my own experience. Like, I am, and again, maybe again this is maybe an ADHD thing, or it's like, I haven't hyper-focused on ADHD itself, so therefore I cannot speak about it. Marie Poulin 51:29 Totally. Oh, my gosh, the hyper-focusing of watching all the videos about ADHD and like, it's just, it's it's so funny looking at all the memes. I was so dismissive of ADHD, because I was like, oh, well, come on. That's all of us for every single meme. And at some point, I was like, wait a second, like, is that all of us? And yeah, it took some digging, and I was like, wait a second here. Michele Hansen 51:52 There's some tweets about this that I find myself referencing, and it was either people with ADHD need to stop being so relatable, or I need to go to the doctor. Marie Poulin 52:06 Exactly. Michele Hansen 52:07 I think, you know, my, so this is super fun talking and relating to you and like, realizing, you know, that we're both not weird. We're weird together. But my, the reason I really wanted to talk to you about this here is because I think people who are neurodivergent, who don't fit the box, like, tend to feel like we're not as capable of things as other people, or we have been made to feel that we're not as capable. And I hear from people that are like, I don't know if I could run a business, like, I can't, you know, like, if I can't focus on one set thing, like, and I'm all over the place, like, I can't possibly run a business. And I think what I like to show and, like, what you show, amazingly, is that not only can you run a business if you have ADHD or any other like, because I noticed all these, like, people in the indie community, like, they're people, like people who just don't fit the box. Like they have, they have disabilities, they have chronic health conditions, they are autistic, like, whatever those things are, like, they have been able to find a home in this place, and like, you can run a business if you're ADHD like, you, like, like, I present myself as evidence and I feel like you are evidence of that, too. Marie Poulin 53:35 Absolutely. I think a big part of it comes down to you have to know yourself really well. Like, you have to know your triggers. You have to know how you're incentivized, how you best operate, so that you can either get the support that you need, or again, you can design your products and services in a way that, even though, for example, I've been a generalist for a decade, and it's really only in the last year and a half, two years, that I was like, I'm going all in on Notion. Like, I see an opportunity here, like, let's, let's just try this, I'm going to see, like, what's the worst that could happen? I make, I make some money for for this chapter and I get known as the Notion person and then I can, like, flip the chapter and do the next thing. I've been in general so long, I was like, whatever, let's just give it a try. And what again, what I love about it is my days can be so freakin different. Like, I am not doing the same thing every day even though I'm doing one thing and so you know, it's about finding traction with that one thing but if you can design your business in such a way that you're still getting, you know that dopamine hit or whatever it is that you need, you got to know yourself well enough to know, hey, I really thrive with routine or I really thrive with days that look very different, and then getting someone to support you on your team, like, maybe you have a small team. For me hiring my direct my you know started with a virtual assistant, who is now my, mou know, Director of Operations and having her is no doubt a humongous part of why I've been able to do the kind of growth that I've done. Like, I would have been scrambling wearing all these different hats. So to have someone whose focus is entirely operations and all the nitty gritty, like, export of CSVs, any of the detail work, I'm like, let's just be honest, Marie is not the details person. I've accepted this. And now we have someone who is a details person who frickin loves that stuff. And the stuff that makes me cringe is the stuff that makes her day, and like, what better? Like, that's all you can ask for, I think. So, even if you're just getting support in a really, really tiny way, you know, again, there's just so many opportunities, I think, to get creative with the way you design your business, that it is supporting you. But you do have to, to know yourself really well, I think to know how to do that. Michele Hansen 55:51 And what I, you know, ADHD, the first two words of it, or attention deficit, and I find that you show is that it's not a, like, it doesn't have to be this thing that's deficient about you. Marie Poulin 56:06 It's just a little inconsistent, that's all. Michele Hansen 56:08 Like, it can be, if you sort of steer it and give it support, like, it can be this amazing thing that you bring to the world. Like, it's not a deficiency. Like, I feel like that's just kind of like, the message I can give to like 11 year old me, like, it's not a deficiency, like you just have to help it come out. Marie Poulin 56:28 Well, hyperactivity like that, like you've said before, like the phrase, it just, it doesn't carry a whole lot of positive connotations. And so, Michele Hansen 56:36 No, the whole thing sounds very negative. Marie Poulin 56:38 It does, yeah, we're we're off. Like, there's something broken with us, versus hunter gatherer brain, like different types of brains, I think evolved for different purposes. And, you know, we all, we have our own incredible use cases, like I know, you mentioned in other episodes, the ability to form connections between really disparate stuff very, very quickly. Oh, my gosh, in companies to have that kind of strategic person who can really see those connections, there's no doubt that each of us kind of can plug in somewhere and we can really shine in different ways. But it's, it's tricky, like you said, if we are neurodivergent, in a neurotypical world, it might mean that we might have to take the initiative on that and, and take charge in different ways and kind of carve our own path. Michele Hansen 57:25 But then when we do, like, other people seeing like, hey, like, it's not just me, like, you know, you mentioned the, like the Dani Donovan's ADHD comics. I don't know if you've seen those, like, I'm so appreciative that she's so open about it. Marie Poulin 57:37 Yeah. Michele Hansen 57:39 It just, I think, because we have been made to feel deficient or different, like we, you know, I know I tended to like hold this in, and I realized that even like, most of my best friends didn't know I had been diagnosed as a kid until a couple of years ago, because I just never talked about it. I just, like, accepted it, this thing that was wrong with me, and like, whatever, like, we don't need to talk about it. But then we talk about it, and it doesn't actually, yeah, it doesn't have to be. Like, it can really bring whatever our uniquenesses into the world. Marie Poulin 58:08 Yeah, I'm hoping it's sort of becoming a little bit more destigmatized, and on Twitter, and it just feels like I'm hearing more about it, and people maybe are getting a little more comfortable talking about it. And even it seems like things that therapists maybe wouldn't recognize before, like, it's starting to become a little bit more known. And so yeah, I'm hoping that, you know, by sharing some of my own honest insights that that it does help destigmatize it. I think the more people, you know, like you and I talking about it, I do think it just kind of opens up the doors a little bit. So, if we can be part of that then you know, yay. If it helps one other person even just kind of embrace their their inner weirdness a little bit, then we've done our, our duty. Michele Hansen 58:52 Yes. Exactly. Or embrace the weirdness of, you know, their loved ones, too. Marie Poulin 58:58 Find your weirdos. Yeah. Michele Hansen 58:59 Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that's probably a good note to end on today. It has been so fun talking to you, Marie. I feel like we've, we've gone on quite well, like, we normally run half an hour and we're quite over that, but I'm okay with it. I, this is so fun. I'm so grateful that you came on. And so, if people are curious about your courses, or about you, where can they find out more? Marie Poulin 59:26 You can check out my website is MariePoulin.com. You'll be able to find the course on there, too. That's NotionMastery.com, pretty active on Twitter. That's that's probably where do most of my chitchat about business and founder life and ADHD and all that sort of thing. So @MariePoulin on Twitter, and if you're curious about more of the, more personal behind the scenes stuff, and plants and gardening, you can check me out on Instagram, too, so. Michele Hansen 59:51 Awesome. Thank you so much, Marie. Marie Poulin 59:54 Yeah, thanks for having me. Really fun.
Jul 1st — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: The total addressable market for this idea is over 16 million individuals in the U.S. alone. Action Steps: Partner with member of the community Research applicable grants Links: https://www.packupgo.com/ https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html https://skift.com/2017/11/16/airbnb-buys-accessible-travel-business-accomable-in-its-latest-acquihire/ https://www.freedomshowers.com/blog/small-business-funding-for-ada-accessibility-compliance/ <em>Lillian Rafson is the founder of </em> <em>Pack Up + Go</em> <em>, a surprise travel agency. </em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]
Jun 30th — Today I'm talking to Dan Cederholm (@simplebits) about his somewhat reluctant journey into growing Dribbble. He's a self-described "accidental entrepreneur. So, in this interview, we'll talk about how someone who identifies as a creator and a designer can fill the role of a founder. Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/simplebits Check out Dribbble: https://dribbble.com/
Jun 29th — Pre-order Michele's book! https://deployempathy.com/order Follow Nicole on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleBaldinu Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by Recut . If you make videos or screencasts, Recut could help you cut your editing time by half or more. Recut removes the awkward pauses, the gaps and the silent parts so you can stop spending hours slicing and dicing with the razor tool. Recut makes a cut list that you can import into your favorite Mac-based editor, like Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut, or ScreenFlow. You can get 10% off with the code SoftwareSocial, or download the free trial at GetRecut.com . Michele Hansen Hey, welcome back to Software Social. I am so excited about what we have going on today. We have Nicole Baldinu, Co-Founder and COO of WebinarNinja joining us. Welcome, Nicole. Nicole Baldinu 00:51 Hey, Michele. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Michele Hansen 00:54 I'm so excited to have you on. First of all, I mean, you guys have built such an incredible company. Just to give a little bit of background. So, WebinarNinja was founded in 2014. You also produce the $100 MBA Show, which won Best of iTunes in 2014. 23 full-time team members, 100% customer-funded, an amazing business. I am so excited that you're joining us today. Nicole Baldinu 01:24 Aw, thank you. That's, that's really nice. It's almost like sometimes you forget, you know, where you've been. You just keep going and charging forward. It's like, yeah, we've been around since 2014. Must be doing something right. Some days, it doesn't feel like you're doing anything right, you know. Michele Hansen 01:43 When in 2014 did you guys launch? Because we were also 2014. Nicole Baldinu 01:47 Oh, WebinarNinja, like, around April. Michele Hansen 01:51 Okay. Nicole Baldinu 01:52 It was around April, yeah. Michele Hansen 01:53 Wow. Nicole Baldinu 01:54 I know. It's crazy. Michele Hansen 01:56 It's kinda, so, we launched in January of 2014, and we are still just the two of us. And you guys have like, 23 people, and I mean, it's so interesting how many, like, different paths you can take. Nicole Baldinu 02:14 Yeah, and the number of iterations, I think, like, yeah, I don't even remember version one, you know. It feels so long ago. But that's true. Like, I don't think we in, like, even intentionally set out to just grow, grow, grow. You just kind of take one, one step forward, and you just keep moving. It's like, yeah, we need help, like, you know. You're answering all your customer support queries in the beginning, and then it's like, no, you need some help. And then you hire your first teammate, and then it just, just keeps growing. Michele Hansen 02:47 So, let's fast forward a little bit to, I guess, would be five years into it for both of us. We met at MicroCon in 2019 and were basically instant friends. Um, and I remember what, I think, I think you might have come up to me, and you were really interested in learning how to do customer interviews, which is, like, my jam. Nicole Baldinu 03:17 Yeah, I loved that conference so much. It was, it was such a, I think for me, that was the first time, it was kind of the first SaaS-focused conference. I think a lot of the conferences I'd been to before were very, I don't know about you, if you've attended like, other conferences outside the SaaS space, but a lot of podcasting conferences, you know, I remember the first, do you remember NMX? New Media Expo? Michele Hansen 03:45 The name sounds familiar, but I didn't, I've never been a huge conference attender, so I haven't been to a lot. Nicole Baldinu 03:52 That was my first conference, and that was January of 2013. And that was literally when I, you know, that was my first kind of foray into entrepreneurship, and so meeting bloggers and podcasters, and it was all just such a new unknown, like world. But I remember like, MicroCon being just really special because I just felt like, that it was, it was kind of like, I felt people were really honest and vulnerable and authentic when it came to talking about, you know, the pitfalls and the challenges of SaaS. businesses. And yeah, and I remember I loved your talk because I just felt like, you did, what was it like a chat, like it was a 10 minute tactic or something, or? Michele Hansen 04:41 Yeah, it was an attendee talk. Nicole Baldinu 04:43 Yeah. Michele Hansen 04:44 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 04:45 And, and I still have your notes. I shared this with you last time we spoke. I still have your notes because I just thought it was so helpful, so practical, and the, the crazy thing is though, when was that? So that was MicroCon 2019, right? Michele Hansen 04:59 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 05:00 That's the first time I heard, I think that's the kind of the first time I really thought, oh, you can do, like, you can talk to your customers. You can do, like, this kind of user research. And I've only done my very first customer user research this year, three years on, but I still have your notes. And it was, yeah, it was just super inspiring. I just thought it just seems like such a cool thing to do. And, yeah, so I finally, finally took the plunge. Michele Hansen 05:28 So, let's dive into that plunge a little bit because I think it's, I think it's totally normal that it would take you some time from from like having that moment of being oh wait, I can talk to customers, to then sort of, not just like, sort of working up the courage for it, but also the time and, like, fitting it into your schedule and thinking it really, really through and so, like, could you kind of take us back to earlier, I guess, earlier this year, when you really started to hit the ground on it? Nicole Baldinu 06:03 Yeah, and I mean, I should, I should also say that we had done user research and customer interviews, but it wasn't me that had done it. So Omar, who's my Co-Founder, the CEO, also my husband, business and partner in life and business, he had done the first user interviews, and kind of, because he's more customer has been always more customer-facing. He had done user interviews, but it was something that I never felt that I could do. Like, I'd kind of be behind the scenes and reading Intercom, like support, you know, conversations and seeing what, you know, customers were saying and replying. But it was all very much chat and email never like, let's get on a call and let's talk about it. So recently, we've kind of wanted to, the whole reason behind starting to do this is because we wanted to kind of refine part of our offering and also look at a potential MVP out of this, this offering. And so I just thought, I don't know, and all of a sudden, I just felt like I want to do it. I don't even know what, like, why I just woke up one morning and said I'm going to do these, which is, like, really unlike me. But um, but I just decided to, yeah, I think I made that decision, like, I'll do the interviews. And then as soon as I took that decision, I literally went for my notebook from the, to look for the notes that I took from MicroCon. I then went and looked at all your blog posts and everything that you had on, you know, on the topic, as much as I could like, digest in like, I had a week, I think, before I was like, I scheduled the first one. And, and then yeah, and then I was just like, okay, I have got my questions now, thanks to like, you know, I looked up some of the sources that you had, you know, referenced. So I went in, you know, okay, I've got my questions. Now I know what I want to do, I want to know what I want to ask. And then it was literally the mechanics of okay, get a Calendly up, send out the blast, like, the blast out on Intercom to actually invite people to, you know, to be interviewed. So then all those little pieces, too, that I think, like, I was kind of procrastinating on, they just all fell together really quickly. It's like, okay, you just got to invite people, people reply. You just got to have a, you know, a sequence to, you know, send them your Calendly then it all gets done, then you've got your questions. And then it just, then they just started. And then as soon as I did my first one, I was really upfront with the first. She was she was lovely, my first interviewee. And that was great, because I was very nervous and I just basically said, you're the first person I'm interviewing. And so that kind of just made me feel a bit more at ease. And, and she was just lovely, and just easy to talk to and just answered all my questions. And then I just realized, after that call I was like, this is so much fun. I love this. I think when we talked last time, I was like, totally geeking out on just how much fun it is and what a positive experience it actually ends up being talking to your customers. Michele Hansen 09:08 I think last time we talked, which was about a month ago, I remember you said that it had basically become your favorite part of your job. Nicole Baldinu 09:19 Did I say that? Yeah, it's true. It's weird. It's totally taken me by surprise. I was thinking a little bit more about that, though. Why? I feel like it's a very positive experience. Because initially, I thought oh, you know, there's the potential that you know, the conversation could just turn into like, this is one of the things I thought it would turn into. I thought it would turn into a let's, let's ask about, you know, support for WebinarNinja, like, show me how to do this or complain about something that's not working as expected. I thought it would go down that path, but it didn't. It just ended up being very much focused on the questions I was asking and, which was really focused on what they do, like how they deliver their content, and, and about their business, and about why, I mean, the, my favorite question, and this, I think comes from your blog post, and I think this is what kind of, I see them light up and kind of lights me up is when I asked them, what's the big picture? What are they trying to do? And that question is just, it's, it's just my favorite question on the interviews, because it just brings out, yeah, it just gives them an opportunity to really share, oh, this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. And they get to just, I don't know if I'm like rambling a little bit, but I don't know, would, have, you've asked that question before, right? Michele Hansen 10:55 Yeah, I'm curious, can you ask me that question as if you were interviewing me? Nicole Baldinu 11:02 Okay. So, Michele, what's the big picture of what you're trying to do? Michele Hansen 11:13 And that's it. Nicole Baldinu 11:14 That's it. Michele Hansen 11:15 Like, that's only a couple of words. They're not very big words. Like, it's a such a simple question, yet you have found that that just lights people up. Nicole Baldinu 11:28 There's only one person that kind of asked for clarification, and then when I had to reframe it, I just said, why are you doing what you're doing? Oh, my why? Oh, okay. But everyone, everyone else kind of, it was interesting, like, everyone else got it. And it all comes around to you know, they want to help, they want to share, they want to empower. It's just, it just brings out, yeah, it brings out their why, but without asking it in that way. Because I think if you say what's your why, I think if it's all, I don't know why that feels a bit more daunting than what's the big picture? Because the big picture, because sometimes I would actually expect from that answer that they would talk about what they're trying to achieve in their business. I actually didn't know originally where that question would go. That's kind of probably what surprised me. I thought it would be more focused on the business. Like they would tell me what they're trying to achieve maybe financially, or, you know, what their goals are. But it did kind of step back, for some reason it did actually generate the response of this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. That makes sense? Michele Hansen 12:38 No, it does. I've actually been, I was thinking about this a lot the past couple of days, because one of my, my subject matter editors for my book was, they made a note in the, in their edits, that I had a couple of why questions, and they reminded me that those need to be what questions, and I've been thinking about what's and why's all weekend, actually, so I'm so glad you brought this up. Because when we ask someone a why question, we're asking, in some ways we're asking for causality. We're asking why they do something, like, and asking them to sort of think through the reasons why they do something. But if you ask someone the same question, but you rephrase it as a what, it's a much easier question. Like, why are you here versus, what led you here? They're basically the same question, but if I asked you what led you here, you walk me through the different steps that you went through, and the causality can sort of come through the details of that. Versus if I said, why are you here, then you have to sit and be like, why, why am I here? And like, like, you get lost a little bit in the question. And so asking a what question instead is usually cognitively much easier to answer. And, you know, maybe, as you said, some people may, you know, they may appreciate being asked a why question after the initial what question. But for most people asking, you know, I mean, I do this with my daughter, too, right? Like, you know, instead, instead of saying, like, you know, you know, what, like, why aren't you down here for dinner yet? Like, being like, be like, so what's your plan? Like, dinner is on the table, what's your plan? And then that opens up to, oh, well, I'm actually getting this ready. Or like, you know, this weekend, she's like, oh, I'm making a card for daddy for Father's Day. Okay. Alright, cool. Like, you're not, this isn't an intentional thing. But so, rephrasing as a what I think gives it also, as you said, it gives people options to where to take that question. And I think, I think kind of as sort of both of us just had a moment of earlier on when we were talking of like, wow, I guess we have been doing this for a long time, and it's pretty awesome, and how cool is that? Like, we don't really step back and think about that very often, and I wonder if when you asked that question it like, it sounds like you are prompting that same kind of reflection in people, which, in turn, makes them really excited to talk to you because you're making them feel good about themselves and what they do. Nicole Baldinu 15:25 Yeah, I'm just blown away by that, just that little explanation about the difference between the what and the why, like, it just takes the whole process, the whole, asking those questions to another very sophisticated level, and just realize sometimes, like, I don't want to, I don't, sometimes I feel like I don't want to think too much about it, but I think it can be so sophisticated and so refined, the actual process of asking these questions and learning more about people. I guess this is my first run at it, and, yeah, like, even if it's, if it's not at that level, whatever I'm getting out of it, I feel is worthwhile. And I know that I can take it to another level because I love what you just explained, and I think it makes so much sense. But yeah, there's, there's so many layers to it. There's so many layers to it. And it's true, I do feel that it does, I do feel that sense of like, it's fun, like they don't mind, like the crazy thing is it's like, I don't know how long the tick, a typical interview should be, I should ask you that, but, you know, I said, you know, I don't want to take up too much of people's time. So I just said, okay, I'll just keep it to 20 minutes. They've all gone overtime. And there's not a sense of like, I need to get off this call. I have to initiate that let's get off this call, because they're very happy to continue talking because we're both actually having, I feel like it's an enjoyable experience on both sides, which is really cool. Michele Hansen 16:56 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 16:57 That really surprised me but, Michele Hansen 16:59 So that that makes a lot of sense to me, because you are, like, you're hearing about how your product helps them and, which, you know, you mentioned you, you know, pop in on intercom support tickets and whatnot. Like, I think for, you know, us founders who do, like, talk to our customers a lot just by default, because you know, there's customer support their sales, like there's, there's all those other things. But interviewing someone is so, so different, because they tend to, like,, it's much more appreciative environment than, than like, hey, there's this bug or whatever. But then also for that person, like they get to talk about what they do, and they're actually, like, MRI studies they've done of people when they are, when they are talking about themselves or their experiences to another person, like, the parts of the brain related to motivation and enjoyment light up way more than they do, than if you were, than you were listening to someone else talk or you're talking about something that isn't directly related to your own experience. So it's, like, it is enjoyable for people to, to be asked these questions. I think as you kind of, as we were sort of talking about a little bit with the what's and the why questions like, there's, there's a lot of, like, levels here, but you don't necessarily need to know all of those levels in order to get started. You just need to be, I think, kind of like you did, to just sort of being willing to take the jump, which, you know, I think the first time feels a little bit like a polar bear dip and jumping in a freezing cold ocean, and you're like, okay, here we go. And then the next time you're just like, sprinting towards the ocean and excited for it. Nicole Baldinu 18:48 Have you ever been, this is just going sideways now, have you ever been stood up on one of these interviews? Michele Hansen 18:53 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 18:54 Okay. Lots, or just? Michele Hansen 18:56 So I noticed that that, like, it used to happen a lot when I was a product manager working in a company. Um, and I think that so, but when I'm from recruiting as the founder, like, people tend to show up. Like, it seems like it's more important to them. Like, when I was working in a company, we had someone who was coordinating all of the interviews, and so we had never spoken to them before we got on the phone with them, even over email. And I think it's easier to blow off, like, an anonymous person, rather than the person they're going to talk to, nevermind somebody who has a title, whether that's Co-Founder, or like, I mean, sometimes we actually invented titles just for the purpose of interviews, like, Nicole Baldinu 19:42 That makes sense, though. Michele Hansen 19:43 Like, I think we had some, like, Head of Customer Experience, which wasn't even a title at the company. And actually, Cindy Alvarez in Lean Customer Development talks about doing this, too, that like, it's much easier to know show when, when you don't feel, like, an attachment to that person. Um, so I think these days, if someone doesn't show up, it's usually because like, something, like, something legitimately like came up. Nicole Baldinu 20:12 Yeah, no, I totally feel that because it's literally been just one person. And I do feel like there would be something that, you know, because I do recognize that sometimes I feel like there's an element of not intimidation, but like, oh, wow, I'm actually getting to talk to the Co-Founder, so it is a bit more special for them. And I do feel the first part of the interview might be a little bit stiff, but, yeah, maybe a little bit stiff until we kind of, you know, until I think a big picture question really breaks down the, let's forget that, you know, we're just literally two people talking. And then I think they do forget the interview setting. But yeah, I'd say like, you know, just one out of how many I've done, and it's not that many. I've done 13, so one out of 13. That's not bad. You can do the math. I haven't got a calculator, what ratio percentage that is. But, uh, yeah. Yeah, I definitely think, and the flip side of that, too, is the, the recognition at the end, which I get to feel really kind of special or feel so, it's so rewarding for me when they'll turn around at the end and say, you know, this is so good that you're doing this. Like, they really appreciate that a company would actually listen, take the time to talk to their customers. And they, you know, I've had people wish me the greatest success, and you're gonna do a great job, and this is gonna be amazing. And it's just, and you can, and I feel, I like, I genuinely feel like they're being authentic, because they felt like I've listened to them. I've, you know, taken the time to, you know, give them an opportunity to share what they need, what their pain points are, you know, learn a little bit more about themselves. And then I do feel there's that reciprocation of, like, I wish you well, and no, I wish you well. It's kind of cheesy, but it's kind of sweet at the same time. Michele Hansen 22:17 You know, I find that people who I do interviews with, even though it's really not intentional, like, they will offer to do a testimonial for us. They will offer to be a reference like, like, or I'll notice on Twitter, like six months later, like, they're the one who's like popping in on threads when, when people need what we do. Like, it really creates this, like, incredibly valuable connection. Nicole Baldinu 22:42 Yeah. Do you have any, like, do you do any follow up? Like, what's the next step? Because literally, I'm at like, stage one right now, where it's like, doing the interviews. And I've just hardly just, you know, started the analysis, and I haven't gotten very far. And then I'm thinking, well, what's the next step after that? Is there some other sort of, invite them to a focus group with, you know, and like, what's, what have you done? Michele Hansen 23:08 So I actually, I want, I'm going to come back to asking you about the analysis because I'm super interested to hear about that. Um, it depends really on what it is. So for example, if they like talked about something that, let's say that we ended up deciding in the future might be a new product, for example. Like, I might come back to them and be like, hey, you know, this thing we talked about, and it might have been, like, three years ago, like, we're exploring this now, like, can I talk to you specifically about this particular element again? Or maybe we have a prototype of something, asking them to run through it with us or, you know, if there was sort of something that was unclear, or we needed to follow up with them about. Um, but sometimes there is no follow up. Very often, actually, they will follow up with me and be like, hey, like, you know, like, you guys seem really open to feedback, and so we're, you know, we're working with this other piece of data, like, is there any chance you guys could support that or whatever? Like, they will come back to us very often. But there doesn't, you know, beyond a thank you note, really, there, there doesn't have to be, there can be as much follow up as you need, right? Like if you're doing something early, like it might make sense to, you know, to ask them hey, like, can I come back to you for further questions if our prototype or maybe to help us prioritize different things, like, to go back and do card sorting with them? It really kind of, like, it sounds like you're talking to people who have been customers for a long time. Do we actually talk about that targeting you did to decide who to talk to? Nicole Baldinu 24:40 I didn't, I just ran, no, they might not be customers for a long time. But they definitely are users and have an, I would say that the ones who've replied are all you know, they've had, they've used the product for some time, but it could be as little as like a month. It doesn't, Michele Hansen 24:59 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 25:00 Not longer than that. And then yeah. Yeah, we've had, I've had some more longtime users, but generally it's, yeah, just people that, because the question was quite targeted and asked a very specific question when I did the call out, like, do you do this and this? I'd love to talk to you. Michele Hansen 25:19 Oh, yeah. What was, what was the exact question? Nicole Baldinu 25:22 The exact question was do you run live courses or live training? Michele Hansen 25:27 Oh. Nicole Baldinu 25:28 I want to talk to you. And then so, that was the, yeah, that's how I got them in. So I think that specific question helped as well. I want to know if it helped. Michele Hansen 25:45 You picked that question because you said you're exploring an MVP of something, and also sort of potentially repositioning or sort of tweaking your positioning towards that specific market? Nicole Baldinu 26:00 Yes, because its current usage, it's a current way that the customers are using, you know, WebinarNinja to deliver live training and live courses. So I wanted, I want to learn more about how they're using it, and where their pain points are, and, yeah, and what we could do better in that, in that kind of space. Michele Hansen 26:23 It sounds like it was a question most people would answer yes to. Nicole Baldinu 26:27 If they do it, yeah. Michele Hansen 26:28 Right. Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 26:29 But not all our users. So because I suppose you know, there's a lot of WebinarNinja users who are, you know, using webinar ninja for marketing. Michele Hansen 26:39 Right. Nicole Baldinu 26:40 And they're not necessarily delivering training. Michele Hansen 26:43 Right. Yeah. So the analysis, before we talk about what you do after the analysis. Nicole Baldinu 26:51 Oh, my God. Michele Hansen 26:53 Like, what are you doing? Like, like, what does this process look like for you right now, and it may not be sort of conceptualized as a process. Nicole Baldinu 27:04 Okay. So so far, it involves printing out the transcript. Step one. Step two is reading it with a highlighter. And, and so I guess where I'm struggling, or where I kind of want to refine the analysis is, what am I looking, because I'm looking for a few things, I suppose. I'm looking for, you know, words that they say or things that they actually do, actions they perform, things that are concrete. Then there's also the oh, I wish something that they don't do, but it's kind of aspirational. So. you know, how much weight can you put on, on, on on those kinds of, you know, it's like, oh, we should do this. But it's like, what, have you ever done that? You know, would, how likely are you, they don't know. They wouldn't know, right? If it's something just like, you know. And then it's also, yeah, looking at it through the filter of like a marketing message. How would I then communicate to resonate with people who are doing the same thing so that I could, you know, attract the same type of people as customers? So there's kind of like, three buckets, I suppose. And so yeah, and then so there's the highlighting. And then it's, because of there's these, kind of, three kind of areas, and I'm just kind of have columns, and I'm just writing out, you know, things that fit under those columns. Michele Hansen 28:45 Do you feel like you're getting out of that what you were hoping for? Nicole Baldinu 28:52 Um, well, I have to say so far from just the interviews themselves, I feel like I've gotten a lot out of it. But I want to see, I, I'm not sure. Yeah, I don't know. This is a little bit like, I don't know, early stages. Michele Hansen 29:08 Have you, have you tried diagramming the process for them, like, trying to sort of identify what, you know, what their big picture is, and then just all of the different pieces of that? Even if they're not, you know, sometimes we think of a process as like a bunch of linear steps, but sometimes it's also sort of an ecosystem of steps that kind of sometimes all sort of happen in a jumbly sort of order at the same time. And I'm curious if you've been able to sort of figure out what that looks like, for even, for each person. Nicole Baldinu 29:43 No, but you're obviously saying that I would do that diagrammatic kind of visual for each one, right? And then later, look at all the similarities. Michele Hansen 29:55 Yeah. So some, I mean, if you're looking at people who are going through the same Sort of overall goal, then it would make sense to, to split out all of the different steps per person. And then to break them out by, did we talk about the different dimensions of problems? Like, the functional, social, emotional dimensions? Nicole Baldinu 30:16 You, yes. But I was very, like, new to everything you were saying, so I was like, one process to everything. Michele Hansen 30:24 That's okay. So, um, so I find this helpful, especially for, like, pulling out relevant parts that can be used for marketing or like, you know, sort of, wouldn't, like, quote them exactly, but like, the can inform like copy and whatnot. So there's a functional dimension to a problem, which is, you know, they, they want to run a sales training because they need their salespeople to sell more, or something. Like, so they need a tool that allows them to connect with their sales people remotely, for example. There's a social element, which is they are running this training, and there may be 10 people that they are training, and those 10 people have different levels of technology experience, and some of them have been with the company for a very long time, some of them are very new. Like, what are the different social factors going on, and how might they express that? Like, I want my team to feel like they're on the same page, like, for example, might come through and a quote, and then you say, so you hear that word team? And you're like, okay, well, what do they mean by team? Who exactly is on that team? Like, what, what is the story of all of how all these people came to be working together? And there might be an emotional perspective, as well, of like, how, how do they feel about the tool they used before? Was it frustrating for them? Did they feel like they were, you know, banging their head against the keyboard trying to get it to work, or to get their team members to install it? Or did they feel great when they get off of these trainings? Like, does this, do they find the tool, you know, easy to use? Like, and like, those are like, those also can come out in the quotes, too. And so what I find helpful is to kind of diagram the different steps, and they may be they may be linear steps, they may be, you know, concurrent, like, and then, and then, but for each one of those pieces of it, breaking out the functional, social, emotional components of it. Nicole Baldinu 32:23 Okay. Okay, yeah. Wow. This is so cool because there's just, there's so much to unpack in, you know, in one person's experience. And then I suppose, as you see the commonalities, I guess, that's when you, you know, across more people saying, if they're saying the same thing, I guess that's when you get validation, that's when you get, yeah, the understanding that this is affecting, this could be affecting more people. So I suppose I've gone, you know, the experience of actually talking to one person becomes very, like, it's just you and that person, and it becomes very much restricted to that world. And then you've got to step back and go, okay, I've got all these people now, they've said all these things. Now I've got to make sense of it. So it's just, I feel like I'm still, I'm enjoying the first stage so much. Like, and I feel like I've gotten a lot out of that first stage. But now it's like, okay, now this data is so valuable. What do I do with it? And I want to make sure that, yeah, it's unpacked. And then obviously, I know this information, I'm going to be unpacking it, but then I've got to communicate it to the rest of the team, as well, so putting it in a way that's like, you know, I can share it with Omar and the product team and now CTO. So there's just so many levels to it, but it's you know, it's all doable. It's exciting. Michele Hansen 33:59 I think the more people you talk to, too, you're gonna start seeing those commonalities in in processes. So like, last episode, I was talking a little bit about activity-based design, which is basically the idea of going a step beyond human-centered design and thinking about the different processes that people are going through, and then you can start seeing the, the commonalities there. So for example, when I'm talking to someone, and it turns out that they're using us because they're doing, you know, US government Home Mortgage Lending compliance, like, their experiences of that are going to be very different than somebody who is you know, working with getting the timezone back from tractors that are in fields. And, but if I talk to somebody who's doing the compliance, like, generally like, like, as I when I hear that I'm like, okay, now I have a better idea of what this process is, from an overall perspective. How can I learn more about this person's, like, their company's specific functional elements, their specific social elements, like, their specific emotional pieces? Like, what do they think of the other options that they've tried compared to the other people I've heard and getting more and more depth each time. But there can be a huge breadth and, especially as I think you guys also are a horizontal SaaS, right? So you're, you're selling across many different industries, and, and I think this is where customer interviews are so fun, because I get to learn about so many industries and like, I'm like, I didn't even know that was a thing. Nicole Baldinu 35:45 I know, so varied. Michele Hansen 35:48 Versus, you know, someone who's selling horizontally, sorry, vertically within one industry, like they might not have that sent, you know, it might vary based on, you know, company size, or stage or whatnot. Um, I'm really curious, you mentioned bringing your team into it, which, you know, as a two-person team, we don't really do as much, but so like, how have you been able to bring other team members into this, or like, involve them in what you're learning? Nicole Baldinu 36:16 Well, so far, like, the first step I thought would be just okay, I'll put it, I'll make sure that I share the recording, the transcript, the details of the person I've used, you know, in like little folders on Basecamp. I've just basically organize it into little folders. And then as soon as I, you know, put up a new, a new interview, then I make sure that I share it with, so far right now, it's just me, oh my and our product, UX-UI designer, Maria, so I just share it, I say, hey, guys, there's a new interview. And I know they've been watching some of them. You know, I've highlighted a few that I thought, oh, this is super interesting. This person is definitely someone we'd go back to. So that's been just the extent of it so far. I feel like if I'm going to then, you know, share it, say, with our CTO, when it comes to more development time or, you know, when it starts to be a thing that's going to be fleshed out, or you know, if there's any development work, then I feel like there would have to be more, kind of, maybe a bit more of a traditional kind of a report where it's like, you know, X percent of people said this, or the majority are saying this, this is what, you know what I mean, it would have to kind of be backed up a little bit more by statistics. Michele Hansen 37:29 I think they're, you know, I like to use qualitative and quantitative data together. And, you know, I, thinking back to when I was working in a bigger company, you know, we would say, like, for example, we see, you know, you know, 35% of users drop off on this page, and, you know, and then having a sort of data that like, this is important to the business for, you know, x millions of dollars reason, right? Like, if fewer people did that, then hello, money. And, but then we have like, quotes from people like, oh, well, it turns out that, like, they find this really difficult because that x, or they're looking for this other piece of information that isn't there, so they click the back button. And then here's a quote from someone that says, I really didn't know where to go, like, and then, and it's like, okay, so like, here's the picture, like, and now here, okay, great. Like, here's a project, like, here's something that a team can work on of, like, you know, the bounce rate from here is 35%. Like, let's get it lower because we have the, you know, we understand why people are doing that. We also understand why it's important to the business. Like, statistics, I find will not really come out of interviews, but interviews, explain why the statistics are what they are. Like, a spreadsheet of data will tell us what is happening, but it will never tell you why. Only people can tell you why, but you need both. Like it's, it's, I think there's sometimes people sort of think about, like, that you only use, you know, quantitative data, or, you know, I talk about interviewing and I think you only do interviewing, and it's like, no, like, porque no los does, like do it all together. Nicole Baldinu 39:10 Porque no. Definitely los dos. Definitely. Well, yeah. It makes sense. And I think that's just, I think, why the process of actually, you know, literally doing a very manual printing out, highlighting actually gives you the opportunity to, to read because, you know, you're going to get one kind of experience when you're listening the first time and, you know, you're asking the follow up questions. But there's so much probably that's missed, even in on that call, until you actually go and read and, and highlight and just, yeah, analyze word for word, everything that was said. And there's a whole other layer there to unpack. Michele Hansen 39:15 Yeah, I wouldn't, have you asked Maria, your UI-UX designer, to also read through them and do her own highlights? Nicole Baldinu 39:42 No, not yet. But that, is that something you, Michele Hansen 40:00 That might be interesting. And, and there is research that says that when, like, multiple people are analyzing an interview, they pull out more of the problems. So the, the sort of like the paper on customer research was in the, is in the context of usability testing was called The Voice of the Customer. It's from 1993, or 1994, and they did all these different tests on how to pull out customer problems and analyze them. And they found that multiple people analyzing an interview tends to bring out many more of the user needs than just one person doing it. That makes so much sense. Yeah. Because then, like, the way I'm thinking, obviously, I'm trying to do this as fast as possible, too, right? Let's get to like, analysis and presentation of like, here it is. This is what we need to do. I am trying to, like, speed that process up. But yeah, the risk there is that it's really then just my interpretation. Nicole Baldinu 41:02 Right. Michele Hansen 41:03 Right. And some, they might just watch a video and, yeah, I remember that. But that deep level of analysis is, yeah, is going to be missed if we don't give that opportunity. So, yeah, that's a really good point. I mean, we did that, I believe, like, with the first user interviews. We gave those to our marketing teammate. So, that's how those were used, I feel. But I definitely think if it's, you know, we're starting, you know, if it's an MVP, then yeah, you're right, like someone else needs to go, I think this is actually the problem, or yeah, I agree, or no, I disagree. That's not the problem. And I think, you know, organizationally, giving somebody else the chance to discover something, too, like, they're not just being told what the learning is, but they have it, like, chance to discover it for themselves and maybe see something that somebody else missed. And one thing I love in Erica Hall's Just Enough Research is she talks about how powerful it is to bring other team members into the process because they're, you know, when we do interviews, and then bring them to other people and we're so excited about what we've learned, sometimes people can feel threatened or intimidated by that. Because all of a sudden, there's this new information coming in, and now it's on them to learn it rather than they didn't get to experience the joy of discovery themselves. And, Nicole Baldinu 42:29 Oh, my God, you're blowing my mind. Sorry. Michele Hansen 42:30 And so it's more, like, if you can allow them to be in on the discovery process, whether that's as, you know, a silent listener on the call, or as part of analyzing the transcripts, or even, you know, collating transcripts, which is when you find, you know, let's say you find five common quotes, and then you're putting them all together have different commonalities. like they're part of the process, they're part of what's being learned, and they feel more invested and aligned with like, like, I just remember when, what like, when we, when I worked in a bigger company and we started bringing in the developers into just sitting in on usability testing, and not even asking questions or anything, just just listening, like, the level of team motivation and alignment, like skyrocketed because all of a sudden, everybody was learning. Nicole Baldinu 43:23 So was, I just, yeah, I hear you. Like that, it makes so much sense, but I suppose it's one of those things that we just feel like, oh, we don't have time, you know, we got to move on. We got to keep, it's one of those things that does take time. But you're right, like, that excitement that I think is, like, this is so awesome. I'm having so much fun. This is so important. I'm learning so much. Just by sharing it, it literally is just my experience at that, at that point, unless somebody else gets to discover it for themselves now. Oh, man. How long, this whole process is gonna take three times as long. No, no, but it's good. It's good. It's so it's so valuable. But yeah. Michele Hansen 44:06 And also the, in, the process doesn't have to ever stop. You know, it sounds like you're sort of in an intense phase right now, where you've been, I mean, when did you start doing the interviews? Nicole Baldinu 44:20 Oh, my gosh. Would have been like, not that long. Probably just like, three, four weeks ago. Michele Hansen 44:29 Okay. And you've done 13 in the past month, basically. Nicole Baldinu 44:33 Yeah, less. Michele Hansen 44:34 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 44:34 Is that a lot? Michele Hansen 44:35 That's, that's a lot. Like, that's a really good number, like, um, you know, I guess you are doing a specific like, project. So I mean, usually the, what I, like, the general guidance is to do five and then sort of stop and pause and analyze and see if you need to change your targeting. So, it sounds like you're consistently hearing different things from different people, so that warrants talking to more people. But also making research not just something that happens when you have a specific question, but just as a general sort of, I think, I tend to call it, like, maintenance research, like just sort of, on a general basis. But like, that's, that's really good, 13 in that amount of time. And so it makes sense that it would feel a little bit like, okay, now I have to analyze all of this, and this is going to be a lot of time and like, where am I going to find the time for this, in addition to everything else, but I think, I hope that eventually, you can find a place where you're just kind of doing like one or two a week, and maybe you're doing one and your UX person or a marketing person or somebody, a developer even, like, they're doing another interviews, and then you've got just like two a week, and then it's like, okay, like, what did we learn? Like, you know, does this does this match what we've heard in the past? How does it differ? Like, what new have we learned? Like, is there anything else we should kind of, you know, consider digging, digging on in the future? Nicole Baldinu 45:59 Hmm. I love that. I wish, I mean, frankly, like, the five would have been helpful if you'd told me that last time. Five? No, I'm just kidding. Michele Hansen 46:12 I mean, you also don't, you don't have to limit yourself to five, right? Like, it's just sort of, that's like, the kind of goal. And again, that's, that is also based on research, too, that you can surface in the context of usability studies, but like, surface 80% of customer needs with five interviews, but that assumes a pretty defined scope. And where you started with a broad scope, it makes sense that you would need more until you feel like you're starting to hear patterns. Nicole Baldinu 46:41 Yeah. And I love what you said, like, that it definitely, and I'm so passionate, I think the more I do this, and the more, like, I talk about this, and geek out on this, and just love this whole process, the more I realize how much it should be a part of just regular in processes within a company, like, Michele Hansen 46:57 Amen. Nicole Baldinu 46:58 Like you said. Yeah, I know, right? Like, I'm gonna spearhead the user research of the company. Well because it is, I mean, I don't know, like, like you said, we said at the beginning, it's like, it's one of those things, I think, as a company grows, you end up doing a lot more management, and, and that's great, because if you're working with great people, it's okay to you know, to do all those management duties. But this just becomes, you know, and then, you know, there's obviously always the putting out little fires here and there, whatever. But this, this has just been such a positive experience that I think, just really enjoyed it for that reason. So having this as an ongoing thing, I think is, would be great. Michele Hansen 47:44 It sounds like you are I, I can just, I feel like I can see how inspired you are by doing, like, by how motivating it is. I am, I'm so excited to continue hearing about how all this goes. Um, and I feel like, I feel like I could talk to you about this all day because, like, talking to people about talking to people is my favorite topic. Like, like for my book, I interviewed 30 people because I just, it's just so much fun. But if other people want to stay in touch with you, what, what is the best way for them to do that? Nicole Baldinu 48:26 Oh, like, to reach out? Just reach out, [email protected] There you go. You got my email. Michele Hansen 48:34 And you're on Twitter, too, right? Nicole Baldinu 48:36 On Twitter . I'm on Instagram as well. You know, they can contact our support team and ask them to call me. Yeah, I'm in there. I'm in there every day. Michele Hansen 48:49 Awesome. Nicole Baldinu 48:51 Yeah.Thank you so much. This has been so much fun. Like, like, like you said, I could talk about this for days, days on end. Michele Hansen 48:59 Alright, well, that's gonna wrap us up for this week. If you liked this week's episode, please leave us a review or tweet at Nicole and I. We would absolutely love to hear what has made you think about.
Jun 24th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Parenting is a secure market! Over 3.5 million births in the US and 140 million worldwide will continue each year. Action Steps: This is a great business idea for an aspiring entrepreneur without an idea but that’s nervous about supporting a growing family. Start with a cohort of expectant parents and partner with a handful of high-profile child development, mindfulness and parenting specialists. Aim for a subscription service that provides one-step-ahead advice on mindfulness and activities to make parenting easier, less stressful and more fun. Consider a custom consulting add-on that matches parents with 1-on-1 professional consults on-demand. Links: https://www.nami.ml The Wonder Weeks - app that tells you the "stormy" periods Baby Care Products Market to Touch US$ 109.13Bn by 2026 <em>Dan Burcaw is currently Co-Founder & CEO of Nami ML, a service that helps you launch, scale, and optimize your mobile app subscription business. He's been an entrepreneur at the forefront o tech since high school. But today he's bringing us an idea about.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]
Jun 24th — Lindsay Gibbs is the author of Power Plays, “No BS newsletter about sexism in sports.” Gibbs writes about the cultural and political context behind women’s sports. She was an early writer for Substack Pro, and has been building her newsletter for over a year. Here, she shares her playbook for writing and growing a newsletter—while staying genuine, authentic, and marketing-free.
Jun 23rd — Chris Bakke (@ChrisJBakke) came on my radar when he posted an AMA on Indie Hackers after selling his $2M ARR SaaS for $50,000,000. Like a lot of people in the Indie Hackers community, I have a lot of questions. In this episode, I'll find out how Chris came up with the idea and why he intentionally chose a tiny market. Follow Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisJBakke Check out Chris's new startup: https://laskie.com/
Jun 18th — Molly Wolchansky is the founder of The Agent Nest (@theagentnest), an application that manages social media posts and marketing materials for real estate agents. In this episode, we'll find out why she chose this niche and how seven years of manual agency work led to a breaking point. Follow Molly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theagentnest Check out Molly's App: https://www.theagentnest.com/
Jun 17th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Action Steps: 1. Look at user feedback from poorly reviewed competitors in the app store 2. Spend only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars developing a Chrome extension 3. Collect user feedback 4. Expand to other channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter
Jun 15th — Today's guest recently sold his company, FeedbackPanda, but instead of disappearing to an island, I've seen him all over Twitter, all over his blog, all over Indie Hackers <em>helping</em> people. In this episode, I talk to Arvid Kahl (@arvidkahl) about how involuntary reciprocity built his audience and how Indie Hackers can do the same. We'll dig into his new book, <em>The Embedded Entrepreneur, </em>to break down how he co-developed and grew his businesses through audience engagement. Check out The Bootstrapped Founder: https://thebootstrappedfounder.com/ Follow Arvid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arvidkahl Arvid's new book: https://embeddedentrepreneur.com
Jun 14th — Walt Hickey is the author of Numlock News, a daily newsletter with tens of thousands of subscribers. Hickey started working in newsletters as a data journalist in 2014, before creating his own platform on Substack in 2018. Here, he shares his writing process, growth strategy, and more.
Jun 14th — Ben Stokes a full stack developer and entrepreneur based in Bristol in the UK, who's started an ice cream business and cookie dough business amongst other things. Ben, like many indie hackers, has a bunch of small side project ideas, but not enough time to do them. So he started Tiny Projects. Tiny Projects documents his progress with these small ideas, launching 6 projects since May last year, including One Item Store, which he sold, and his most recent, Mailoji, which has just crossed $10k in revenue. Sponsor Thank you to today's sponsor, VEED.io , who are hiring developers, designers, product people and more. So if you're looking to join a growing bootstrapper-friendly business, reach out to their CEO, Sabba ([email protected]), or take a look at their published roles here . Get ad-free and extended conversations of the podcast with Indie Feast membership , for just £4 a month. What we covered in this episode: Why Ben started an ice cream business Buying an ice cream machine for £700 after a few pints Growing a cookie dough business to £13k a month Why Ben started Tiny Projects The six projects he's worked on How to sell a project for $5,000, that only made $2 Selling $10k of emoji domain names How to go viral on hacker news Recommendations Book: Shoe Dog Podcast: Product Journey Indie Hacker: Alex West Follow Ben Twitter Tiny Projects Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet
Jun 10th — This is not a typical episode for the podcast. Today I am talk to two OnlyFans creators: Savannah Solo and Aella. They are both top earners on the platform and we'll find out why. OnlyFans is at the intersection of the creator economy and porn. So if you're not comfortable hearing about sex work or internet porn, you may want to skip this episode. Savannah's twitter: https://twitter.com/savannah_solo Aella's NSFW twitter: https://twitter.com/aellagirl Aella's safe-for-work twitter: https://twitter.com/aella_girl Courtland's OnlyFan page: https://onlyfans.com/csallen